The poorest boys are welcomed from the age of 11 to 18 and they are provided with a safe place to live and learn. As with the other schools in the Philippines, the youngsters study the country’s accredited curriculum of academic and vocational subjects through to graduation (the system is called K-12).
They learn the full range of subjects including sciences and languages as well as valuable life and social skills to help them become independent and productive adults. They also study the technical skills needed to find work and courses include electronics (including solar panel installation and servicing) CAD, computer hardware servicing, automechanics (including electric car servicing). As with the other programmes the boys enjoy a period of on the job training and when they graduate they have the skills they need to find stable jobs and build lasting careers.
These poor children come to us with nothing and with the kindness of our friends, every child at school has all the food, clothes and educational supplies they need to succeed at school. The first days of term are emotional for all the new children in our care most of whom have never owned anything new, of their own.
At the schools the Sisters ensure funding goes a long way. The children reuse and recycle everything. With the supervision of their teachers they grow much of their own food, bake their own bread and make their own uniforms and sports kit. They share text and reference books and all their learning equipment and ensure everything they have is treasured and lasts.
It costs us just under £1000 a year to provide everything needed for one child in our programmes but food is a vital part of this and the growing boys in the Philippines programmes get through quite a lot of food! In Minglanilla, the boys eat 350 sacks of rice a month, that is nearly 20 tonnes!
A large part of the weekly timetable is dedicated to keeping the children fit and healthy.
The boys enjoy their leisure time keeping fit with a full programme of sports and physical activities and following a vast array of hobbies and extra-curricular pursuits. Favourite activities include athletics, football, basketball, table tennis, Arnis (the local dance and martial art)music and gardening.
The boys are extremely competitive and enjoy challenging each other and other schools in local, regional, national and international sporting and academic competitions.
In lockdown most other schools were closed and competitions were not possible and so throughout the pandemic the boys were creative with games and competitions to challenge each other, have fun and keep their spirits up.