WATCH: When it’s hard for preschoolers to go to school

Save the Children visits the children of Tondo, Manila to learn about their stories. Join us as we meet preschoolers in a place called ‘Happyland.’

Program: Education

Type: Video

All children deserve to learn, no matter where they’re from.

For some, going to school was never a problem. This, however, isn’t the case for all Filipino children.

In Tondo, Manila, there are more than 200,000 children. Unfortunately, some of them have never been inside a classroom. And many of these kids believe they never will.

This situation not only persists in Manila but all throughout the Philippines.

Together, we can change this. Let’s make sure that children get an early start in their education!


When it’s hard for preschoolers to go to school

Save the Children visited Tondo’s Barangay 105, which is among the metro’s poorest areas.

It’s also one of the sites where we provide early childhood care and education, as well as parenting lessons, through our First Read project.

One part of Tondo is fondly called Happyland, but only a few know about its origins. Happyland is derived from the Bisaya word Hapilan, which translates to “dump site.”

The children of Happyland are literally growing up in hills of trash.

To get to school, they must snake through roads coated in filth and mud. It’s common to see children walking barefoot – risking an infection as their feet are dipped in pools of dirty water, mixed with animal or human waste, and even shards of glass.

Children born and raised here are likely to have never breathed fresh air. Those who are unable to go to school, join their parents in scavenging.

For meals, some families depend on thrown-away food, locally known as pagpag. They wash and recook this either for their own consumption or for reselling.

Pushing through

When it’s hard for preschoolers to go to school

Despite the difficult living conditions in Barangay 105, families are determined to survive, as observed by Urvashi Sahay, Save the Children’s new Regional Director for Asia.

A month into her new role, Urvashi began her country visits.

Her first stop was Happyland in Tondo, Manila.

Urvashi visited a daycare center where Save the Children runs its First Read project, which trains not only young children but also parents and community workers.

The First Read project aims to inspire young children to fall in love with learning, while also helping their parents and caregivers enjoy the process of teaching and raising their kids.

With your support, let’s give Filipino preschoolers the childhood they rightfully deserve!

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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.

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Coverage: Regions I, II, III, IV-A, IV-MIMAROPA, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, CARAGA, CAR, and NCR
Period: January 16, 2023 to January 17, 2024

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