In the Philippines, elementary and high school public education is supposed to be provided for free to the students, by the government, as their human rights. But it is not free.
The collection of the fees on the first day of classes discourages financially strapped parents from sending them to school. According to DepEd, some minimal fees may be asked from the parents of students in grade 5 up to grade 10 during the month of August. Other fees such as membership of the Girl and Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the PTA contribution maybe collected on a voluntary basis from the students.
The estimated total number of Filipino street children varies. The figures range from a low 100,000 to a high (but raw) figure of 250,000-300,000 nationwide.
Many come to the Philippine capital, Manila, with hopes of finding a better life. But like so many others before them, all they found were the realities of a harsh life and survival without work. Within days they end up on the streets, begging. Many children are forced to quit school because their parents, if they have them, cannot afford to keep them in class. Helping the children in the smaller cities, where they already live, keeps them from traveling in desperation to a larger city where crime and homelessness are prevalent.
Having been raised in the Philippines I have a very personal awareness of their problems. I began a feeding program for these children as well as paying for their tuition and school supplies. Currently we are enlarging our lunch feeding program. Our feeding program treats malnourished children by providing them with nutritious meals and a regular monitoring of progress. The nutritional meals we provide fill the gaps so common in poor children. It is sad to think that many children around the world don’t get enough to eat, and the food they eat often lacks the essential nutrients vital to a child’s overall health and growth.
For the parents, The Hesser Foundation will provide a trainer in the Parents Livelihood Program. The aim is to enhance the parents’ awareness of their responsibilities for their children needs. This project will assist parents in generating opportunities to make extra income.
The Hesser Foundation established this endowment for students who have certain financial hardships that make it difficult to pay for the costs of enrollment fees, school uniforms, school supplies, PTA fees, Boy and Girl Scout of the Philippines fees, school projects and any other fees associated with their studies. These scholarships are for the Elementary Schools and High Schools and are given to children of single parents who can not afford to pay tuition and have no job. These scholarships will help them achieve their dreams and goals.
The best of luck to all of the scholars as they continue their studies.