MANILA — Gaining independence in 1935, the Philippines has a history of political instability and various economic reforms. With nearly 105 million people, the Philippines is considered to be the 13th-most populous nation in the world and also one of the most disaster-prone. Their Human Development Index (HDI) rank is 116 of 188, with the HDI based on three dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. The country clearly ranks low, demonstrating the deep need for support of which has been met by several organizations that provide humanitarian aid to the Philippines.
Habitat for Humanity
Known for their work domestically, Habitat for Humanity also provides humanitarian aid to the Philippines. There are approximately 4 million families across the country that do not have a decent place to live. Many families live under bridges, disaster-prone communities, in depressed areas or cramped living spaces that are often only slightly bigger than an ordinary bathroom.
Habitat for Humanity works to construct homes for individuals in need and also provide more affordable living conditions for families with a severely limited income. To date, the organization has served more than 140,000 families across the Philippines by providing safe and affordable living conditions. Their extensive work has given Filipinos the necessary resources to thrive and the ability to improve their overall livelihood.
Fairplay for All Foundation
Fairplay for All Foundation is a relatively new organization that was started in 2011 by two individuals from the United Kingdom. The organization works in the community of Payatas, which is considered to be one of the largest slums and dumpsites in the country. Nearly 40 percent of the population in this region are unemployed, and more than half the residents earn less than $100 per month. The founders of fairplay recognized the need of the people living in Payatas, and thus they opened a school, café, and sports center as a means towards “leveling the playing field.”
The school has a unique approach to education; it highlights students learning at their own pace, focusing on social and emotional development, and encouraging students to see mistakes as a positive step in learning. For the most part, Fairplay has been successful with high attendance rates (in a country with a high dropout rate) and constantly-improving grades.
The organization has also provided humanitarian aid to the Philippines through their café. Fairplay employs local mothers to run a kitchen in Payatas, that provides heathy and affordable meals to the members of the community. The organization has also found tremendous success through their sports center. Many studies have indicated that team sports have been linked with improved social, physical, emotional, and academic progress.
The Fairplay Sports Center provides children in the community an opportunity to not only be active, but it also provides a healthy outlet to express their thoughts and emotions.
The Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women (TWMAEW)
The TWMAEW provides humanitarian aid to the Philippines by offering services to women and children who are survivors of the sex trade. The charity works with former prostitutes, and victims of sex trafficking, incest, rape, and domestic violence. Many of these victims live in remote areas with limited access to housing, clean water, education, and medical and mental health services.
The TWMAEW provides outreach to areas in which sex trafficking is common, including sex bars and sex tourism hotspots. Aside from outreach, the charity provides women and children with both temporary and permanent residential housing, as well as vocational training and education programs that empower and enable women to escape poverty.
Many organizations have provided humanitarian aid to the Philippines and much of their work has been successful in improving the well-being of thousands of individuals. However, the country is still in deep need of additional resources and aid, as many remain underserved and living in deep poverty.
– Sarah Jane Fraser