We support some 29,500 children in 25 projects in the Philippines, where we have worked since 1977. Working with local partner organisations, we support disadvantaged children who suffer from violence, live on the streets, or have fallen victim to child trafficking or sexual exploitation.


Protection from violence and abuse

There is a huge gap between rich and poor in the Philippines. Dire poverty prevails and huge slums have sprung up around the cities. Entire regions are regularly destroyed by typhoons, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and floods. Children are often the victim of domestic violence and abuse. Roughly 1.5 million girls and boys live on the streets.

We support children by promoting education but also through street children programmes. Our work also benefits communities, for instance, by giving families access to skills on how to increase their income.

The challenges

Nearly one-third of all Filipinos live below the poverty line. Those who are fortunate enough to have a job usually work in agriculture, as fishermen, or in the cultivation of rice and sugar. Because many families struggle to make ends meet, young children have to help support them financially and usually work under exploitative conditions. In the worst cases, both girls and boys become the victims of sexual exploitation or fall prey to human traffickers.

In addition to working children, there are many street children in the Philippines. They have to struggle to survive and are often forced to steal, beg or prostitute themselves, which frequently leads to run-ins with the law. Street children rank among the most vulnerable groups in Filipino society and are particularly exposed to health risks.

The lack of social security and healthcare is alarming. Only Filipinos with a birth certificate have access to these services, which makes life especially difficult for children: nearly two million girls and boys do not have a birth certificate, effectively cutting them off from medical attention, education, and – most importantly – protection from being abducted.

Three girls sitting on the streets in the Philippines. (Source: Jakob Studnar)
Many children live on the streets. We give them shelter and a future.

The indigenous population in the southern Filipino provinces is particularly at risk. They live in a region with weak infrastructure. Armed conflicts between government troops and rebels exacerbate their problems. Our partners attempt to improve living conditions through community development and self-help groups for women.

  • Our work in the country

    Our work focuses on bringing about lasting change to social structures. In addition to helping children, we also seek to impact their environment; for example with programmes designed to increase family incomes and to help create self-help groups.

    However, we primarily help sexually abused children so they can come to terms with their traumatic experiences. Our rehabilitation programmes help them resume a normal life. Involving the entire family is crucial in this process.

    By fostering community development and above all helping families to increase their income, we actively combat exploitative child labour in the project regions. Families escape from extreme poverty and children can return to school. Education is an important part of many additional projects such as our work with children from urban slums and with girls and boys with disabilities. Furthermore, we offer vocational training programmes for school dropouts.

  • Key figures on the Philippines

    • 108 million people live in the Philippines
    • 38 % of Filipinos are under the age of 15
    • 20 % of all children under the age of 5 are underweight
    • 11 % of all children have to perform child labour
    • 96 % of all Filipinos aged 15 and over can read and write

    Sources: World Factbook, United Nations

Philippines: Help for street children

Philippines: Help for street children

Many children in Manila attempt to escape from domestic violence and end up on the streets where they are forced to prostitute theirselfes to be able to survive. We are committed to change this situation!

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How we work

How we work

Learn more about how we realize children’s rights.

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An overview of our projects and countries

An overview of our projects and countries

We are currently supporting almost 1.9 million children in 33 countries. Click here to read selected project descriptions.

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