How do the street children of Manila live today?
Street people are first of all those who don’t have anything most of whom live in the street. When the children reach the age of 10, they must help their parents find what they need to live on. And for those who are left to their own devices, they survive by begging, prostitution and minor thefts.
What is the principle of the mobile units?
Founded in 1992 by the Frenchman Dominique Lemay, the Fondation Virlanie created mobile units to favor social reintegration through academic and health education. This itinerant school crisscrosses the most disadvantaged neighborhoods to meet the children directly. Using interaction and play-based learning, the educators tackle different themes: literacy training, the prevention of abuse and accidents, health and nutrition education and learning hygiene rules.
What do families think of this project?
Most of them are very grateful and moreover know Marie, the program’s coordinator, very well. She has a great deal of patience because it is sometimes hard to convince the parents. Some of them prefer that their children help them to find something to eat rather than learn to read. In general, they especially suffer from a real inferiority complex.
How did Air Liquide contribute to this project?
The €10,000 grant from the Air Liquide Foundation has made it possible to support 150 children since 2010. At Air Liquide, we are aware that education is essential to make things change, to become a better person. I remember a child who told me during one of my visits that “I want to become like you.” The most important thing is to give these children back hope and show them that they can have a better life.