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Education Is One Of The Keys To Breaking The Cycle Of Poverty

Dear Friend,

Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world. When I preached there in 2006, I was amazed by the contrast between the glittering skyscrapers downtown and the overcrowded slums and shantytowns where millions live in desperate poverty.

Life is particularly hard on the north side of Manila in a district called Tondo, where over 630,000 people live in an area less than 9 square kilometres. Tondo is prone to flash floods and raging wildfires which destroy hundreds of shacks and tenements. The air reeks with rotting trash from a massive old dump called “Smokey Mountain.”

In the midst of all this hopelessness and despair, Samaritan’s Purse is working with hundreds of young children to help give them a brighter future and teach them how much God loves them.

In July, Samaritan’s Purse started work on three day-care centers in Tondo serving boys and girls ages 3 to 5. These are much more than kindergartens as we know them. These children need to learn basic hygiene practices to reduce sickness that might keep them out of school. We are also serving daily meals to prevent malnutrition and improve attendance. We have trained teachers and developed a pre-school curriculum that incorporates Bible stories and Christian values. Education is one of the keys to breaking the cycle of poverty.

A teacher named Rosa described how many of her students come from broken families and single mothers who cannot read or write. “I invite the mothers to join my class as volunteers,” she said. “This way, they can also learn without feeling embarrassed.”

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by a city as vast as Manila, but God has opened doors for Samaritan’s Purse to work in Tondo and transform people’s lives, one by one. Over the past two years, we’ve provided food to hungry families, taught thousands how to avoid waterborne diseases, and helped staff a clinic that specialises in caring for new mothers and young children.

Earlier this year, when a fire left 600 families homeless in Tondo, Samaritan’s Purse responded overnight and handed out hundreds of heavy-duty plastic tarps to give them shelter from the tropical rain and sun. “Salamat po!” they said—the Tagalog phrase for “Thank you.”

“Samaritan’s Purse is such a big help to this community,” Rosa said. “I see the difference your presence has made in the people from some years back. That’s why I’m so thankful that you added an education program. I consider them all as my own children and I want them to have a better future.”

Samaritan’s Purse has been working in the Philippines for decades. Many of our projects are on the island of Leyte, which is still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. We helped build 10,000 storm-proof shelters and 11 medical facilities around the city of Tacloban. Through our Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts, Samaritan’s Purse has been able to reach more than 5.4 million children across the Philippines with the true meaning of Christmas.

The Philippines is among more than 100 countries where Samaritan’s Purse works in the Name of Jesus to help victims of disaster, disease, famine, poverty, and war. Through our Australia office, we support life-changing projects in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia as well as the Philippines. We praise God for the great things He has done.

Can you imagine what it is like to grow up in a place like Tondo? Wouldn’t you like to help make a difference in the lives of these children an children living in similar circumstances in other parts of the world? Through the prayers and gifts of people like you, Samaritan’s Purse is doing just that. Thank you for partnering with us. May God richly bless you.

Franklin Graham
President, Samaritan’s Purse

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