One of the things that we have seen in the Philippines is a free educational service called TESDA, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. This is an opportunity for people to improve their skills and knowledge.
This sounds like a win-win for everyone, and in reality, it is if you can access the internet. What we have found is that in the area where the children’s home is located, access to the internet is very limited. This is due to several reasons.
Most of the homes in the village do not have computers due to the cost of purchasing one. This would be a significant part of their whole year’s income. The next challenge is that in many cases the homes do not have electricity.
There are a couple internet cafes within a reasonable distance from the village. They provide good service and to me it was a fair price. I used one a couple times while I was there to send emails and to take care of some online business. While I felt that around $1.00 for an hour was a good deal, that would represent about half of a day’s wages for many in the village.
One of the things that is in the works in the area, is a voc/tech school. This is being worked on with some of the local leaders and the children’s home staff. As you can tell from this and past articles, we know that going into it, they cannot pay for schooling and eat.
What is being organized is a type of work study for many of the courses. This will allow the students to attend school while earning some money to help support themselves and their families. At the same time, they are gaining skills that will last a lifetime and help provide for their families for years to come.
In addition to the courses we will be providing, there will be ways that they can access these TESDA courses by trading time helping at the school for time online.
So, to answer the question in the title, it is possible to be so poor that you cannot access free services. That is something we are addressing because the Bible tells us that, “The poor you will always have with you,” but it also tells of the wrath that is given to those who treat the poor and needy with complacency. We might have the poor always with us, but we will do what we can to help them find their way out of poverty in the ways that we can do so.
If you choose to support the school, this is some of what you would be supporting. We have several items needed that can be supported with onetime donations. However, our greatest need here, just like the children’s home, is regular monthly donations.
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Also, if you share the Facebook postings when you find them interesting, it will help spread the word about our children.