Tuesday 27 December 2011

School and Soya for Street Children, K & H – Talamban

I can safely say Ms Kathy from K&H, Talamban is probably one of the most inspiring women I have every had the pleasure of meeting. Being in her presence I felt she had a sense of modesty that I have only ever seen in people who feel they don't need recognition for their work, rather their reward is the positive impact they make. Ms Kathy ran a school every Wednesday and Sunday for the street children of Cebu City. With up to 90 students in her classes, ranging from 4-19, she still managed to teach a wide range of subjects from maths, social science, english, with even personal care and future planning. Before the lessons, the children get to have a shower, they also get given Soya Shakes and healthy snacks made by Ms Kathy herself, and then attend class.

Chocolate Soya Milk for the children
Ms Kathy made a fresh Banana Soya shake for us to try
“The children are taught they are worth more then to beg,” Ms Kathy told us, “they don't sing Christmas carols on the street anymore to earn money.” Part of the education aims at giving the children a sense of self esteem, and teaches them how to get jobs. This is tough as sometime the children come from families where their parents beg as a means of getting by. If this has been happening for generations, it’s hard to uninstall from the children’s minds. Ms Kathy hopes one day she can get the parents in for special training as well.

Talking to Ms Kathy
Another project K&H are also involved in is educating and teaching pregnant girls/women living on the street about motherhood. They are also given soya milk and snacks. I have heard Philippinoes call themselves the baby making country. As contraception is still forbidden due to the heavy presence of the Church, the growing population is a huge problem. Even families living on the streets will have up to 16 children. Ms Kathy helps to educated the women in family planning, giving them advise, and other options in life.

Even though Ms Kathy is busy with two time-consuming projects, she gets time to help local women farmers and supports them by buying their products: soya, chocolate, bananas, mangos, malangay and coconuts. She makes her soya milk from scratch and uses the other produce in the shakes and varies the flavours each week. She also makes coco syrup, coco vinegar and virgin coco oil, which she sells in the market, using the profits to help fund her projects. Her next aim is to have a day nursery for the women farmers, so they can have a safe place to leave their children during the day time when working. 

K&H's produce left to right: 100% chocolate;  soya shakes; bananas; nuts; coco syrup, vinegar and virgin oil 
The problem is the lack of helpers on hand. Ms Kathy does a lot of work herself, and doesn't have any volunteers. This is something I am working on helping her with. Having her work along side local Universities, so students can gain experience, and Ms Kathy can have extra pairs of hands to help her continuing and expanding the great work she does. The one amazing thing I have found is very evident in the Philippines, is the youth’s interest in helping NGO’s and wanting to make a difference to helping their country. Universities are a great place to start for NGOs in the Philippines, as there is so much enthusiasm from willing, bright students.

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