Helping Land, Happy Land and Aroma, located in Brgy. 105 at Tondo, Manila are the designated temporary relocation sites for underprivileged families previously occupying Smokey Mountain — which was closed down in 1995. Tondo, is the most densely populated area in Metro Manila.
Helping Land is home to hundreds of families whose main source of livelihood is scavenging from garbage. Most of the families satisfy their hunger by relying on “pagpag” – leftover food from restaurants scavenged from trash. Not only the do children not get nutritional requirements they need, but they are also very prone to food-borne diseases, which, often, can be fatal.
Project PEARLS adopted the community of Helping Land in 2013. We started with a Saturday Feeding Program for at least 300 children; Brain Booster activities and wound care are also offered during the program. We turned an abandoned courtyard into an outreach space where children can have a decent meal; can learn and play. A space where children can just be children, despite the sight and smell of garbage and poverty outside.
In the summer of 2015, Mario and Marco, two young brothers got food- poisoned from “pagpag”. Tragically, Marco didn’t make it. His parents didn’t have the money to buy first-aid medicines for both; they didn’t even have money for fare to bring the two to the hospital. They begged neighbors to loan them money but those neighbors are just as poor as they are. Mario, up to this day, is still suffering from hunger and poverty.
The tragic death of Marco compelled us to step up our efforts even further, and to go from a weekly feeding program to a daily soup kitchen serving breakfast for around 300 kids in Helping Land. This means the children get at least one healthy and safe meal per day, which in turn will hopefully prevent another deadly incident involving food poisoning.
Since Marco’s death, there are at least three more very young children who died from complications of malnutrition and mainly from extreme poverty. Project PEARLS effort in providing one healthy meal is not sufficient enough to keep these children healthy and alive. Immediate access to free medicines and health care are very urgent.
HEALTH CARE CENTER:
The goal of building a Children’s Health Care Center is to provide free and quality health care services and free medicines that improve the lives of the children in the community. By giving them access to free medicines for simple illnesses such as dehydration, diarrhea, stomach flu, colds and coughs, pneumonia, wounds, skin irritation and infections, etc – we may be able to prevent serious illnesses and even children’s death.
We need your help in equipping this center with furniture, medical supplies, medicines and staff. We need volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists, medical and dental mission groups to help us out.