In the Philippines, small communities such as the "barangay" operate daycare centers for pre-school children, identified by volunteer health workers to be undernourished, and mostly coming from poor families. The daycare center is an important part of the barangay because it serves to provide education and conducts feeding programs for pre-school children.In Barangay Libertad in Bohol, both the health center and the daycare center were completely ruined during the 7.2 earthquake in Ocotber 2013. Due to oversight, reconstruction of the daycare center and the health center were not included in the Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA) Project of the Philippine government.
Today, the day care center in Barangay Libertad is a makeshift "kubo" or hut in the middle of a grassy area surrounded by mounds of calcified deposits better known as the Chocolate Hills. This is not the main location of Bohol's tourist attraction but the barangay is in a pristine location unknown to tourists.
The "kubo" fits 14 pre-school children, usually from the low income households, who avail of free lunch during the weekday. However, there are 21 children who come to the daycare center that need to be fed. The children are usually undernourished and hungry and the daycare center is their best and only source food. Some children will go home and will not be fed until they return to the daycare center the following day. Although the daycare center also serves to educate, the feeding programs are the main attractions for mothers to bring their children to the daycare center.
The make shift day care center of Libertad has no flooring, except for the soil on the ground that turns into mud when it rains. Its roof is of galvanized iron sheets that were salvaged from the old barangay hall ruined by the earthquake. Needless to say, the old iron sheets are old, rusty and have holes that allow rain into the kubo. There is no running or drinking water so the children and the teacher make use of collected water placed in plastic containers.
The kubo that serves as classroom and feeding area does not have a restroom for children and the teacher. It is enclosed with slatted bamboo that serves as ventilation but also exposes children to mosquitoes. Old and very basic educational materials like the ABC and 123 hang on the slatted walls. The books on the shelves are few and old, with noticebly torn pages.
The children in Libertad deserve a daycare center that can provide proper shelter, sanitation and hygiene. They need books, school supplies, and good water spource both for drinking and sanitation purposes. HAND Philippines will include Barangay Libertad in their 2016 community immersion in September, and is reaching out to its supporters for their generous donations to help provide the children of Barangay Libertad with a better daycare center. Support the daycare center by ADOPTING A SCHOOL or go to HAND DONATE page.
HAND and the children of Barangay Libertad appreciate your support!