SOS Children's Villages is located in the town of Mariveles, Bataan in the Central Luzon region north of Manila. Mariveles is one of the biggest cities in the region, and its population is increasing at a rate of nearly 4% a year.
Traditionally Bataan’s inhabitants lived off agriculture and fishing, but more recently the Freeport Area of Bataan has attracted many businesses and industries. As more land is used for the city's industrial and residential expansion, agricultural activities are threatened. Families who live off agriculture need extra support to adapt to the changes.
Since 2009, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bataan.
Demographically speaking, the country is young—around 30% of the population are children under the age of 14. In order to escape grinding poverty in rural areas, many children move to Mariveles with their families in search of a better life. However, the city's economic development has not reached everyone.
Families living in these harsh conditions in the city struggle daily to put food on the table and look after their children. Children often suffer from malnutrition or ill health. Another great concern is the fact that many parents cannot afford the extra costs of sending their children to school; they can only do so with the help of scholarships.
The people of the Philippines are one of the most vulnerable to climate change in the world, due to 60% of the population living in coastal areas. Coastal cities are at increased risk from rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, and storm surges. Tropical storms and typhoons, floods, landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and droughts are common. Between 2000 and 2017, the Philippines experienced 273 natural disasters linked to climate change. Many families are displaced families as they are forced to flee dangerous and inhospitable environments. Families need extra support as they rebuild their lives in a new location.