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From the Field


Project Overview

Life is not easy as we thought, actually in Philippines, what things that you are going to see in this article about the Dumpsite project will change your mind. Many children scavenge for plastics and other recycle items at the city dump. VFV took their volunteers to the dumpsite to gain an understanding of their backgrounds, customs, needs and their dreams as well. The purpose of those works is to get ideas of people’s lives and try to find a way to transform their lives.


And things we did on 23rd June 2015…..

We were heading to Dumpsite/Basurahan on such a sunny day. Alana, Rita and Alisa were chosen for this placement. I represent the Media interns to take photos, notes and summarize this trip. We took 2 jeepneis in order to get to the Dumpsite. When we got there, the beautiful landscape is depicted by the tiny sand road in the middle which is covered by majestic mountains. Alana, Rita and Alisa were asked to interview the people there about their profile, especially their dreams, ambitions. They were lead by three VFV coordinators:…… The environment there is fully affected by the smell which comes from different types of trash. We found out different stories of the people who living there, and the only things we could do was encouraging them for the brighter future. 


Alisa interviewed a ten-year-old boy which the name is Justin Carbusas. We were all surprised how such a young boy can overcome a difficult life and work day by day. Becoming a soldier is this little young boy’s dreams. He said he would come back to school if school would have been closer. We could see other kids in such a horrible living place in Dumpsite, almost them are living in such small tents which are definitely do not have enough good conditions for growing up. I should think, Philippines government is better to give them a small assistance for those people who living here. It does not need to help all of them to have their own houses, or get better jobs, butat least give a chance for the kids so they can come to school, and assist some of foods which are very lack of in such a difficult workplace as Dumpsite.


 Alana interviewed a few people to understand their backgrounds and the reasons which lead them to the Dumpsite. Almost the reasons are similar; they want to earn a living to help their families. Ruel, which is one of the people who are working there, he told us he was there because there were no other means to send his children to school. Also, there were a woman wants to find a few more income to fully provide for her family. Their ambitions and dreams in life are also simple but very emotional. There is a man who hopes he was able to send his daughter and siblings to school, and also there is a one wish he could let his children finish school so they could have a better future.


Typhoon is the other main reason which leads some of them to work at the Dumpsite. Rita interviewed a guy whose farm was destroyed by typhoon a few years ago. He could no longer continue his work on the farm anymore and shelters is too far to get back to the farm. He hope one day he could get his own land, his own farm and house as he used to have in somehow. He likes to stopped working at the dumpsite as well due to the money he earns is not enough for him and his family.

New Picture (3)

Working under the heat, living in such a low condition place are things we need to solve in a developing countries. Difficult life forces children to come up with those works. The dumpsite becomes their playground and maybe it is the only life they knew.


Written by: Tan Hoang Bao Nguyen – Media Intern from Vietnam

Posted in Dumpsite Project | Leave a comment

We Need Your Help

‘Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself”- John Dewey

Heading to Talolora Elementary School in Tanauan, I can see why many NGOs come to neglect this school- not by purpose, but because of its remote location. We pass stretching paddy fields, seeds laid out to dry in the blazing sun and rural villages filled with naked children playing whilst their mums wash their laundry in large tubs of soapy water. The winding path in front of us becomes a scattered dirt track and we come face to face with our destination.  IMG_7663

Rouel T. Pecho the Principal of the Elementary, welcomes us as we arrive, telling us that the school has been around since 1950, and has 4, 3609 square meters under their management, although most of it is unused. This year the maximum total of students that have enrolled here are 137, however the children are crammed into 3 small classrooms, as unfortunately one of the classrooms was lost during Typhoon Yolanda and the school does not have the funds to implement new classrooms for the school. This means each grade is sharing their classroom with another grade, making the learning environment congested and busy.  Teaching is made difficult by these small classrooms, as the “space is not enough to check if their working”, says the Grade 5 and 6 Teacher: Primalyn C. Lago. Although the teachers have been trained in seminars how to teach multi grades, the format of the classroom means that many of the children’s focus fluctuates.  There are many different types of children that walk the 30 minute journey from the nearby villages to school, those who can’t behave, those “who are really slow, especially in reading” and whom need more attention, and those who are intelligent and excel.  But it is challenging for the children to push their attention on the work, when the teacher cannot check their progress and cannot give support to those that struggle.


 The Elementary School reaps significant outcomes, even with the constraints and challenges both teachers and students face. Most of their pupils enroll in the nearby high school, some even enrolling in the town’s high school. The pupils are intelligent and are determined to learn and thrive with an education. I spoke to Dyrine G Acala, a Grade 6 student aged 11, who is President of the Supreme Pupil Government, and enjoys being so because she likes to offer guidance to other children who may struggle with the work because of the restraints the classrooms bring.  A bright individual with promise, she tells me of her dreams to be a chef, to cook chicken adobo in her own establishment.  New classrooms would benefit her future by allowing her to achieve her ambitions and make her incredibly “happy”.


With more classrooms, it could benefit both teacher and student, as then the children would be able to have more of a constructive and effective learning. Primalyn speaks of “elementary school as the foundation of learning”, as really “high school and college is practice”.  The students and teachers of Talolora Elementary School are seeking help from VFV and any donors who will be able to aid the school, to help continue and further the education of the children of the Tanauan area, providing an education for those who deserve it, which so many of us take for granted.

Written by Vicky Carter


Posted in Donate, Education | Leave a comment

What is a “Nanay”?

Staying in a home stay is an essential component of any VFV volunteer program, a support system for volunteers throughout their project and length of stay here in Bliss. It enables the volunteers to connect with members of the community much quicker and easier, by learning from the inside out, how members of the community live their lives. The journey from a volunteer’s home to a local family’s home makes the transition from one country to another, much smoother. With the introduction of everyday routine and values which volunteers may find in their own home, volunteers can quickly adapt to their new environment, avoiding culture shock, and socializing with members of the community. Staying with a family means that not only does the volunteer learn from the family, but the family learns from the volunteer, benefiting both parties. I spoke to a number of “Nanays” here in Bliss on the main reasons behind them being “Nanay’s”.IMG_7462

What a “Nanay” means varies from one household to another. Some Nanays see it as a role to “serve”, to “accept their volunteer” and to “only prepare foods to take care of my volunteer”, according to Nanay Nene, Nanay Virgie and Nanay Cudiang. Whilst other Nanay’s see their role as a “second mother” to the volunteers, such as Nanay Rosemarie, who “gives them advice what to expect here, to make themselves comfortable, and to be a friend to them also.” Whilst Nanay Vilma highlights her role as a second mother by giving house rules for their own protection, “after Yolanda we feel Tacloban is less safe. I don’t wan’t you to get hurt. Protection wise, we look into your needs as a second mother, I am thankful they abide.”

Each Nanay is a Nanay for a number of reasons, however the the main drive behind each home stay is the enjoyment of meeting and talking to the volunteers. Nanay Rosemarie speaks of how “it gives me pleasure to meet other cultures and experience different cultures from all over the world” as well as improving her English, which is also mirrored with Ate Tess and how being a home stay has improved her ability in speaking English, which has in turn, benefited her job as a sales lady. This is also prevalent in Nanay Josefina, as “my son learns more” through improving his English, but also meeting different nationalities whom being different cultures with them to Bliss. Whilst some Nanay’s appreciate the extra income that being a home stay brings, helping out with their finances.

The Nanay’s have hosted a number of different types of volunteers from places all over the world such as: Norway, Canada, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, UK, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Japan and Italy. However all share the same desires of type of volunteer who would stay at their house; someone who obeys, and when facing a problem will “always talk to me” says NIMG_7487anay Nene,  someone “who is not picky with their food” says Nanay Virgie, as “if they have a stomach problem, then it is your burden as they are under your care” furthers Nanay Rosemarie. Nanay Vilma expects volunteers to “understand our place and our conditions”,  that they have come to make a difference, taking volunteering seriously, that they “are really here for volunteering” Nanay Rosemarie comments, as Ate Tess explains, “I can see their attitude”. All of the Nanay’s hope for “quiet, helpful and happy volunteers” but also “loving, sweet, thoughtful, caring, generous and kind” volunteers, according to both Nanay Cudiang and Ate Tess.

But it can be hard for some Nanay’s and their volunteers to communicate in English to one another, addressing their concerns or welfare. Although all Nanay’s have had more than their fair share of good volunteers, “sometimes they are good, sometimes they are not”, as Nanay Cudiang kindly puts whilst laughing a hearty chuckle to me. Recollections of volunteers being terrified by insects, animal noises, even enforcing their own strict rules, as well as communication faults and disliking traditional meals, are the drawbacks of being a Nanay. Ate Tess speaks of her biggest challenge of attending on a volunteer who was both mute and deaf, whom she helped continuously throughout her stay,  and she found “a little bit hard”. This act of kindness by Ate Tess, as well as the strength and resolution the volunteer had in coming here, is inspiring and makes Ate Tess’s role as a Nanay even more rewarding.  

 Each Nanay is forever thankful for VFV and the volunteers they bring. Some Nanays speak of instances when vIMG_7482olunteers help out their families, as well as the financial help which is implemented through the home stay program. Nanay Vilma describes the Nanays as “fortunate”, that they are “privileged” to have VFV, because of the amount of children that are being sponsored and whom are given the opportunity to further their education. Also that “there are no fights between mums as mothers club” is in place, and that it has “changed the lands and the people” by being a big help to Nanays and the community. Ate Tess comments, “I really like to be a home stay til VFV still functions”. Their obvious immense satisfaction with the volunteers, as well as the other positive attributes and effects that being a home stay brings to each Nanay as well as the community, is highlighted through their eagerness to host more and more volunteers every year.

Written by Vicky Carter

Posted in News | 1 Comment
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