Who would have thought that 16 people live inside this tiny house?
Babies, children, and adults share this small space, together with a few cats and dogs.
The makeshift home is mainly managed by Ninay, a 24-year-old mother of 4.
It’s made of bare hollow blocks and scraps of metal and wood. Its walls are covered with family pictures, jeepney signage, and old campaign posters from past elections.
Ninay, her husband and kids sleep in one side of the house. Meanwhile, her parents-in-law and siblings-in-law sleep on the other. There are no beds, but plenty of banig (handwoven mats).
No one under this roof has ever finished school. Ninay hopes to change this.
“My eldest child used to go to school, but he only went for a few months,” Ninay said in Filipino. “Because my husband and I lost our jobs.”
Ninay was sad to pull her 6-year-old son out of school. She hopes to send him back soon.
As for her other children ages 4, 3, and 11 months, Ninay says she still has a few more years to work on securing their education.
At present, Ninay works at a small shop selling roast chicken. Her husband earns as a construction worker, but the job is seasonal. Whoever's not working is in charge of household chores and looking after the children.
Like her son, Ninay also dropped out of school at an early age.
Out of school, Ninay fell into a crowd that introduced her to vices like drinking. At 16, she met her husband; and at 17, she got pregnant. Since then, the couple has never stepped inside a classroom.
Ninay doesn’t want the same to happen to her children.
Never too late
Ninay’s children usually ate porridge, with salt as its only garnish.
“I’ll do everything so my children can eat well,” said Ninay. But money problems, Ninay argued, prevented her from providing nutritious meals.
Later on, Ninay learned that it’s still possible to prepare healthy meals even with a tight budget. She now cooks more fish and vegetables.
She’s part of Save the Children’s Parent Education Sessions, which train parents on proper childcare, hygiene, and nutrition.
For Ninay, it’s never too late to learn. As a mother, she’s still learning many things about her and her children’s health.
As part of Save the Children’s education programs, we teach adolescents and parents about reproductive health. (READ: Teens write books about RH)
Our programs aim to prevent unwanted pregnancies and irresponsible parenthood. We target both women and men, making sure that both are well-informed on the subject.
“I hope my children won’t get sick,” Ninay said. “I hope they can study well.” By next semester, she’s expecting her son to be back in school.
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