GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS FROM MANILA
The bad news is that in the next school year more children than ever living around the rubbish dumps of Manila will need help to kickstart their journey to a better life through education.
The good news is that Cashew School will be able to offer more 4 and 5 year olds children a free school place at Early School than ever before; 200 pupils which is a 100% increase on last year.
When registration for the new term opens word spreads quickly around the poorest barrios by mouth to mouth and through social media. However many of the most marginalised families do not get to hear this news so an important part of recruitment is for our teachers and social workers to go out on foot into the slum communities to find the children who can benefit the most. This year the focus is on the new dump site community of Sitio Pintor, the local town of Kasiglahan and the area of Payatas around the old closed dumpsite, each of which are near our base at Mango Tree House. In all 3 areas terrible poverty blights children’s lives and prospects.
This year Charo, our headteacher was out around the neglected community of Sitio Pintor. Our pictures capture one particular child, Roselito, who had heard about this opportunity and pulled Charo home to their isolated shack in the jungle to be signed up for school with the parents. An almost unbelievable but true story that illustrates how even the youngest children realise, at some level, how schooling can be such a power for life improvement.
Each child will gain valuable social skills and after 2 years the child will certainly be ready to succeed in the large classes of public school. Experience has shown that without this early quality educational foundation, the most disadvantaged children are easily overwhelmed and quickly stop going to school, whereas Cashew children often become star pupils.
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