The squalor of the Tacloban City dump is probably one of the last places on Earth which anyone would want to spend their Saturday afternoons.
However, for individuals volunteering in the Philippines with VFV, many have chosen to sacrifice their weekends off so that they can venture deep into the City Dump to augment support outside of their regular project commitment to the Volunteer for the Visayans Dumpsite Project.
The Project, established in 2005 was put into place to rehabilitate children working or previously working within the dump site area by providing them with the means to go to school. Since then, VFV has rehabilitated 35 children and just recently saw its 3rd and 4th children from the project graduate from High School.
Removing children from the Dumpsite area may seem like an easy task; offering a child with the means to go to school should be something that is snatched with both hands without question. However, during these times of economic uncertainty, more and more families are being drawn to the appeal of supplementing their income by scavenging for recyclables amongst the city’s trash. Unfortunately the responsibility of performing such an activity often falls on the shoulders of their children, many of whom cannot juggle the task with their regular school commitments.
Over the last few weeks, our volunteers have visited the site with VFV staff to identify children who continue to scavenge. Volunteers and staff have surveyed the backgrounds of each child in order to keep on record accurate documentation of each child at the site so that in the months ahead, they can undergo measures to provide services for more children. The Dumpsite Project, always has and continues to be a project that is kept very close to the heart of our volunteers, over the years we’ve seen tears and complete looks of disbelief as our volunteers witness the reality of children wading through mountains of garbage. For some, this experience has led to astonishing examples of philanthropy as VFV Alumni have drummed up support to raise funds for the project in their home countries. VFV feels extremely privileged to have had this kind of support and is proud of how the acts of a few individuals can benefit the disadvantaged children at the Dumpsite.
As our project grows in recognition, so too do the plans and goals for the project. Amongst the many plans for the project in 2011 comes VFV’s desire to finally build a learning center in the community near to the Dumpsite. By completing such a building, VFV will be able to organize more structured activities with the children in a safe and comfortable environment, without having to resort to beg and borrow shelter.
Up until now, VFV staff members have been forced to move from pillar to post, borrowing local classroom buildings or even squatting beneath a bus shelter in order to conduct their regular meetings. With the new building comes the opportunity for international volunteers and staff to augment further support to the dumpsite children through the implementation of a permanent home for the project.
VFV can’t do this alone, and is hoping to raise approximately P200,000 ($4,500 US) through support of international donors through its Facebook Cause. As of the end of March, the appeal has already almost hit half way with just over $1,800 US Dollars already raised.
We understand that not everyone has the capacity to provide financial support and joining the cause does not require a financial pledge. If you don’t have money, give a minute, and help us spread awareness about the project.
Damo Nga Salamt!