Kay MacKay’s visit to Manila February 2017

Kay MacKay visited our Projects in Manila in February 17, below is a blog of one of her visits to Payatas –

Today, Mayanne and Irene, our social workers, took us to visit 4 families of our residential children at Mango and I want to share the story of Mrs R and her family.

We care for and educate two of her 10 children in Mango; one has been with us for over ten years and the younger sister four years Mrs R is a widow and works as a scavenger on Payatas dumpsite. Two of her older children have got partners and blessed her with five grandchildren between them. Altogether there are 16 people living in the squat she and her husband built many years ago. Recently an NGO helped them by replacing the tarpaulin roof with a corrugated iron one which provides some protection from the typhoons. The entire accommodation is about 10 feet by 10 feet in total and in order to sleep, they must lie on every surface and floor. There is no bathroom or running water.

Mrs R starts work by climbing the massive mountain of rubbish at 4am to try and find the best pickings, she had just arrived home when we visited at 4.30pm. I cannot imagine trawling through the rancid rubbish in the sweltering heat for 12 hours a day. She has no choice. She had large bags of plastic today but collects anything that she can sell to the Junk Men. She told us her weekly income is between 2-300 pesos- equivalent to £3.30 – £5. She told us that often the family could not eat at all in a day because they have no money to buy food but will always feed the babies first. Decisions about food or paying for school for her other children is really no choice at all, so education is minimal. Despite these hardships it is clear that the family bonds are very strong, one of the daughters who lives in Mango accompanied us and was delighted to see Mum and siblings. Another son, had previously been a Mango student but he explained via the social worker that he missed his family too much and could not bear to be away from them. I also heard how he was not committed to his studies while at Mango so it was better for him to return home.This is absolute poverty and I saw utter despair in this lady today. I hope and pray that one or both of the daughters at Mango will continue to do well at school and be the first to gain their passport out of poverty, breaking the cycle for them and their future generations.

Kay MacKay
Chairperson. Children of the Dump.