Sitio Iwahig is a low-lying community in Concepcion Uno, Marikina with at least 400 households. It is flooded, on the average, twice a year. The area used to be Marikina’s temporary dumpsite. The dumpsite operated for several years but was closed in 2001 due to the protest of the residents. Marikina now uses another area as its dumpsite. However, Iwahig is still being used for garbage-related operations as the city allowed a private corporation to operate a garbage processing and sorting facility in the area. Residents shared that their houses are on top of the former dumpsite. They noted that most of the community’s residents are employed as garbage pickers/sorters, shoe makers, vendors, drivers, contractual workers.
The Earthcare Village “Iwahig” Neighborhood Association, Inc. (EVINAI) was established by the residents to help them address community concerns. EVINAI stated it has 200 members. The daycare center in the community was established in 2002. From 2002 until March 2005, the Tuazon Community Center of St. Scholastica, Marikina (TCC) assisted EVINAI’s daycare center. Its assistance includes the training of two para-teachers. TCC also organized a women’s organization, the Nagkakaisang Kababaihan sa Iwahig. The women’s organization is focused on livelihood generating projects. EVNAI and the women’s organization closely coordinate their activities.
EVNAI sought the foundation’s assistance in December 2005. Since January 2006, the foundation has been extending support to EVINAI and its learning center. EVINAI’s partnership with the foundation is focused on helping them build their capability along financial management, project planning/monitoring/evaluation and the systematization of their early childhood development program. The foundation also extends financial support for the supplemental feeding component, school supplies and learning materials and limited support for the allowance of the learning center’s para-teachers.
The structure being used as the learning center is an abandoned house whose owners transferred elsewhere due to the flooding. BCNAI noted that the owner permitted them to use the structure. The structure is made of concrete, wooden planks and GI sheet roofs. The floor of the however, is approximately one and a half meters below street level, thus it is almost immediately submerged in flood water. The parents added that their one-storey learning center is completely submerged during heavy flooding.
The Iwahig Learning center currently has sixty-four (64) students, 52 of whom will be enrolling as Grade one on June 2007. The parents shared that although there are three private and one-government-run daycare centers near their community, these are financially inaccessible to them. The Iwahig learning center only exacts a P600 enrollment fee and P100 monthly fee. This fund is mainly used to augment the center’s resources for its operation. The parents also contribute P5.00 per day for the supplemental feeding component.
The parents noted that the public elementary school near their community has 12 sections for grade one. They claimed that most of the graduates of their learning center are usually classified into the top five sections of the first grade. This inspires them to strive to sustain and further develop their early childhood education project.