Project Spotlight: Compassionate Education for Building and Uplifting Families in the Philippines
Edmund Rice Ministries Foundation, Philippines Inc. (ERMFPI) has started a new project in Cebu City, Philippines. The project focuses on two communities, one living inside the Chinese Cemetery compound and the other in makeshift shelters in street sidewalks. These communities face persistent inequality in accessing health, education and livelihoods opportunities. The planning for this project began in July 2019 during a workshop with the community and local partners. The plan utilised the findings from a Listening Survey of the two Barangays (villages), Tinago and Carreta. Youth representatives, community members and Edmund Rice Mission staff and partners met to discuss and validate strategic responses to key issues affecting the two communities.
The project is designed to provide beneficiaries with basic needs, while working collaboratively with other stakeholders to ensure no duplication of work. ERMFPI and partner agencies have planned two complementary priority objectives:
- Education: Youth to gain access to education through improved awareness of their rights, through advocacy. A key feature of the program is a missionary approach of personal accompaniment by project employees and volunteers. Gender inequity will be addressed by ensuring access to education with 60% of those finding work being women and girls.
- Health and life-skills: Families access birth registration for their children, and improve their health and nutrition. With partners and government services, ERMFPI will lead this multi-agency collaboration with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Don Bosco Technical College and other similar institutions so that beneficiaries can attend and complete skills training courses. The project facilitates young women and men to enrol and complete training skills for employment and obtain a decent livelihood. Life-skills and values formation will ensure beneficiaries are supported when they find employment.
ERMFPI advocates for the human rights of marginalised youth by working closely with institutions to develop and adopt flexible standards for poor people to be able to enrol in technical and vocational education and trainings. Any gaps where participants are not able to reach the standard will be bridged by arranged focused short courses conducted by ERMFPI. The project and partners will collaboratively provide start-up capital for small businesses with post-training support.
These marginalised families need continual support so they can access skills training courses, complete them and find work decent employment. ERMFPI has a long term commitment to personal accompaniment. The project also provides meals for children on days each week when the relevant partner agency does not provide them. Thanks to funding from Misean Cara, this project began in 2020, and will be implemented over three years ending in 2022. We look forward to seeing the impact of this intervention in the target communities in Cebu City.