Barangay Holy Spirit in Quezon City is a highly populated area with numerous urban poor communities. Although it is only a few minutes away from significant government offices, including the Philippine congress and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, majority of the people in this area live in poverty. In Area 3C, majority of the residents are not formally employed. They barely subsist as vendors, drivers, contractual, construction or factory workers.
Migrante is an organization of overseas worker families. Its chapter in Area 3C currently has 17 members. In 2003, Migrante initiated the formation of its Early Childhood education center they call Sentrong Sanayang Pambata (Children’s Learning Center). The Antipolo Seminary Foundation, Inc. (ASF) assisted Migrante-SSP during its formative years in June 2003 to March 2004. During their second year, school year 2004-2005, the center continued to operate without the ASF’s assistance. It renewed its request with the foundation for the school year 2005-2006 until the current school year (June 2006-2007)
In August 2006, representatives of the parent’s organization and Migrante-SSP leaders noted that their learning center holds three sessions with a total of forty-one (41) pre-school students. The center has two para-teachers; a portion of the house of one of these teachers serves as the current site for day care center.
The parent’s shared that the learning center’s continued operation is a big help to their families since it significantly helps prepare their children for formal education. They noted that majority of them can not afford the P3,000.00 enrollment fee required by the daycare center of the social welfare department. Migrante-SSP only requires a P200 enrollment fee, a P50.00 monthly contribution for center operations and a P10 per week counterpart for the feeding component. In spite of these low fees, however, the parents confided that some of them are unable to pay for the monthly contribution and feeding counterpart because their earnings are mostly used for their food needs.
The parents meet twice a month to discuss center related activities. During these meetings, they not only discuss the development of the students but also formulate their short term plans and schedules of activities. These also include the task scheduling for each committees. The parents take turns in helping in learning center tasks like food preparation for the supplemental feeding and cleaning.
Since June 2006, the foundation extended technical assistance on financial management and planning, monitoring and evaluation to Migrante-SSP. Migrante-SSP also recounted that twenty-nine (29) parents participated in the Nutrition seminar last July 15, 2006 conducted by the foundation. They shared that their participation in the activity helped improve the quality of menu plans for the supplemental feeding. They also noted that although they have been implementing a feeding component before the current school year, it is only this year that they learned that this should have a nutrition monitoring component. The foundation introduced a simplified form to document children’s weight during each weighing activity and taught them how to interpret the data. Through this, they learned that a number of their children were mildly malnourished.