Poverty afflicts more than a fifth of the total population of the Philippines but is as high as 75% in some southern areas of the country. More than 60% of the poor reside in rural areas, where the incidence of poverty is more severe. Families are large and fragmented in these areas and where employment is available it is poorly paid and far distant. Malnutrition amongst the population is common particularly amongst children. Communities are also more vulnerable to natural disasters which are routine in this area and which regularly cause destruction of the limited infrastructure supporting these families. Many of the children who are most in need of our help are located in these areas.

In 2017, with the support of our donors, the Sisters of Mary programmes were able to operate and maintain four schools in the Philippines: two in Cavite, Biga (Girlstown) and Adlas (Boystown) and two in Cebu: Talisay (Girlstown) and Minglanilla (Boystown) and provide live-in secondary education with intensive vocational training to a total of 10,566 boys and girls who come from the most deprived areas of this country and who range in age from 12 to 18.