project wawa, the philippines

TiC member Hannah suggested Project Wawa via TiC’s ‘Picked up a Piece’ scheme which enables members to recommend projects. The project is run by the John Lyall charity to develop opportunities for children who have dropped out of the school system. The project’s children have taken an assessment enabling staff to offer them an educational programme which fits their individual needs. John Lyall is also planning a scholarship scheme to support children to get back into formal education.

Wawa is a small rural village in the poor region of Binangonan in the Philippines. Wooden shacks have inadequate sanitation and are regularly damaged by typhoons; unemployment levels are high. The Department of Education estimates that 40% of children do not attend school and dropout rates are soaring as families cannot pay school fees. A lack of education limits the chances of a job in adulthood, leaving young people vulnerable to the lure of street living in Manila.

Despite progress in reducing the overall level of poverty, the gap between urban and rural poverty is widening – 80% of the poor live in rural areas. The lack of social infrastructure and services in these areas makes the effects of poverty even more acute: John Lyall’s programme and centre is building Wawa’s community by offering learning both for children and adults, helping children like Jefferson.

In October 2009, Project Wawa participated in TiC’s When I Grow Up exhibition. Jefferson said “I want to be an engineer so that I can build houses and help my family. I can’t continue school because I am too poor. The best thing that has happened to me recently is that someone has lent us some money to buy a small boat for fishing”.