Making coals out of firewood collected from dried tree branches and cut down trees is no easy feat. Imagine starting your day at dawn making coals, cooling them down and placing those coals in sacks, and carrying sacks of coals walking miles and miles for hours just to sell the coals to the people in town. At the end of your long day, you get paid 20 pesos which is less than AUD$1. This is real hard work for most of us. But imagine young children, ages 7 to 12, living out a life like this–this is the story of the young children from the Dumagat Tribe in Southeast Luzon, Philippines. For this year’s outreach program, the team behind Outsourcing Angel graciously selected the kids from the Dumagat tribe, an ethnic group found in Northern Luzon, Philippines. In cooperation with the volunteers from a local civic group, Tribu ni Bro, we have granted these hardworking children a day where they can skip a day of back-breaking work for a day filled with fun and games and filling, nutritious food.
The volunteers from Tribu ni Bro walked 6 hours to reach the Dumagat children in Sitio Bagong Sigla in the province of Rizal. The group needed to hike their way through as no means of transportation can reach the settlement other than by walking on foot. Aside from Sitio Bagong Sigla, the group managed to also organise the Dumagat children coming from nearby communities such as Sitio Mabolo, Sitio Bagong Silang, Sitio Kabuoan and Sitio Malasya. We were so surprised to have learned that our meager contribution managed to feed and give joy to a total of 340 Dumagat children. The Dumagat tribe communities have little to no access to public transport, public school and health care services. Most of the time, volunteer work eases up their need for supplies and proper food, especially for the children. Also, the lack of access to free education and welfare services contribute to why many of the Dumagat children are often subjected to child labour, so as to help their families earn money to buy food, working and supporting their families instead of walking hours and hours to attend the nearest public school.
With our outreach program, we we’re so happy to have given these children a reason to smile and be kids even just for a day. Also, despite of the hardships that they face, these children were notably so gracious and hospitable to the volunteers, assisting them with the preparations and actively joining the activities that the volunteers prepared for a fun-filled day. Big thanks to our clients as well as to the volunteers from Tribu ni Bro for making this year’s outreach program possible.