The Project Pearls site in Smokey Mountain, Ulingan City, Philippines
Last weekend, I had the opportunity of visiting the Project Pearls site in Smokey Mountain, an infamous garbage dump site/charcoal factory here in Manila that a community of informal settlers have adopted as their home. The small city is called Ulingan, after the tagalog word for coal, uling.
This is also the site that the wonderful people of Project Pearls works in, where they go every Saturday to work with children who need joy, motivation, and support in their lives. This past weekend was a very special event, as they were celebrating the graduation of their preschool students. The proud mothers escorted their little ones in their graduation robes, proudly accepting certificates proudly dispalying that they have moved on to another level in their education. I was able to join them in celebrating this occasion, meet with some of the children, and visit the environment that they live in.
A special storyteller reads to the new grads
These children live in harsh conditions, many of them suffering from respiratory problems from the smoke they inhale. The children and their families live in a place where garbage is sent, so there are heaps of trash everywhere. Despite all of this, the people of Project Pearls have done such magical work there, setting up a humble, but powerful school where the kids can find a safe place with joyful people every weekend. They also find ways to bring resources there, bringing donated books, shoes, and clothes from abroad. The Project Pearls site inside Ulingan is a hub of hope.
I am thrilled that LitWorld was able to train their facilitators on the LitClubs program, and we aim to launch the first Girls LitClub and the first Boys LitClub by next month! I look forward to what's to come for the upcoming collaboration with LitWorld and Project Pearls. Stay tuned!
*Submitted by our LitCorps Ambassador in the Philippines, Ruby Veridiano