Growing up with dirty water

In the Philippines, fisher folks remain the poorest basic sector, next to farmers. Can you guess the 3rd poorest group? It’s children.

Type: Story

Growing up with dirty water

The air smelled of fish, fresh off the water.

It rained the night before, leaving the ground wet with urine and washed-out garbage. After a while, it gets hard to distinguish the smells.

This is how mornings unfold in “Market 3,” a community of informal settlers in Barangay North Boulevard Bay North (NBBN) in Navotas City. It got its name because it’s located near a fish market.

Right beside it is the Navotas Fish Port, one of Asia’s largest fish centers.

Despite an abundance of seafood, just a few meters away lies a community in dire need.

In Market 3, many children go to bed on an empty stomach. Their parents mostly work as fishers or vendors; unfortunately, they cannot afford their own fish.

In the Philippines, fisher folks remain the poorest basic sector, next to farmers. Can you guess the 3rd poorest group?

It’s children.

Growing up with dirty water

Dirty water, poor nutrition

In Market 3, children run side by side with the numerous stray dogs.

Both have patches on their skin: the dogs sport bald spots left by fleas, and the children have rashes peeking from their holed shirts.

Barefoot, children jump over murky puddles. They laugh, grateful for the water, no matter how dirty.

There are hills of trash everywhere. Children climb the hills to play; other times, they go here to relieve themselves.

These children are growing up without showers and toilets. Clean water, for them, is a luxury.

A jug of drinking water for one family costs around P30 per week, while water for washing is P20/week. That’s P200 a month, a bill too big for some families.

The need for food and water compete with a family’s other immediate needs, such as housing rent and electricity. Some families simply cannot afford all these and are forced to give up one need over another.

An unsanitary environment paired with poor nutrition make a child more vulnerable to diseases. Without intervention, these children could end up dead even before they reach their 5th birthday.

We want the children of Market 3 to have access to proper hygiene and nutrition. These children deserve a healthy start in life.

Your donation of just P200 a week can help us deliver these basic needs to four children every month.

Growing up with dirty water

Saving malnourished children

In March 2016, Save the Children began its nutrition program in Market 3, in partnership with its barangay health center.

Our Community-based Management of Malnutrition (CMAM) was able to save 117 children suffering from moderate acute malnutrition.

All children are now healthy. They are being monitored and are currently enrolled in the barangay feeding program to ensure their steady progress.

At present, we are working on improving the health of 5 severely malnourished babies in Market 3. Save the Children is providing them Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, a special food designed to help a child quickly recover from malnutrition.

Save the Children is also continuously counseling these children’s parents, with the goal of improving their approach to childcare. We are training barangay health workers, equipping them with the right skills, knowledge, and facilities for handling child malnutrition cases.

Save the Children’s CMAM program is fully funded by local donors. Due to the generosity of our supporters, we will soon be able to expand our program to 5 other barangays in Navotas City.

In the future, we hope to replicate our efforts in Market 3 across other parts of the Philippines. To do this, we will need your support.

Together, we can ensure that no child will be left hungry, no child will be walking in filth, and that no child will die of diarrhea and other childhood illnesses again.

Help Fight Child Malnutrition and Give Kids a Healthy Start

Your generous donation to Save the Children gives girls and boys a healthy start, opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Donate monthly to save children’s lives!

More stories from our programs

Building sustainable livelihoods

Building sustainable livelihoods

#WorldAIDSDay 2017: Giving the youth a better access to HIV testing

#WorldAIDSDay 2017: Giving the youth a better access to HIV testing

WATCH: How malnutrition hurts families and PH economy

WATCH: How malnutrition hurts families and PH economy

Teen encourages youth and adults to raise HIV awareness

Teen encourages youth and adults to raise HIV awareness

Stay up to date on how Save the Children Philippines is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood


About Save the Children Philippines

Save the Children - the world's leading independent children's organization - has been working in the Philippines for over three decades and is dedicated to helping children.

Follow and Connect with Us

Join the conversation.

Donate today!

+ 63 2 853-2142
supportercare.ph@savethechildren.org