Philippines

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The capital city of Manila attracts many rural families who aspire to a better life — but without stable work or decent wages, these families are forced to live in informal housing in very challenging conditions.

ATD Fourth World, based in Manila since 1987, has a team of five full-time Volunteer Corps members there who run projects with a network of allies and community members. These projects forged strong links in four communities living in extreme hardship: one situated in a cemetery, another suspended on the underside of a bridge, and two alongside the city’s numerous canals.

In 2013–2015, large-scale urban development led to the almost total displacement of the community living under the bridge and the two communities along the canal. These families have recently been sent to relocation sites in distant peripheral zones. ATD Fourth World has thus moved some of its programs outside Manila in order to stay close to the most vulnerable among the displaced families, who have been deeply affected and destabilized financially.

ATD Fourth World’s programs include the Street Library, an annual Festival of Knowledge during the long school holiday, art workshops, and forums for discussion and training in citizen engagement. Partic-
ular attention is given to children. Even if schooling is officially free, the cost of transportation, uniforms, and school supplies places it out of reach of families struggling in poverty. For example, in the community under the bridge, 45 percent of girls and 57 percent of boys of school age are not in school, and some have never attended. ATD Fourth World runs a program in several communities to support literacy and re-schooling of these children who no longer receive a formal education.

ATD Fourth World–Philippines holds annual fund-raising campaigns using social networks — a common practice in this country. Over the years, more and more friends, advisors, and partners in the Philippines have made a commitment to participate in and financially support various ATD Fourth World actions. They plan and co-facilitate the activities and programs alongside Volunteer Corps members, create links with other organizations and individuals, and help with administrative tasks. ATD Fourth World also regularly welcomes interns, who wish to learn about its work, for periods of several weeks to three months.

The annual budget for ATD Fourth World–Philippines is $72,000 (€64,000).