August 5, 2009: Corazon Aquino, president of the Philippines from 1986-1992 and a democracy icon, died on August 1st from colon cancer. She was 76. Her funeral took place today in Manila where thousands of people followed her flag-draped coffin through the rain to its final resting place. The streets were lined with Filipinos waving yellow flags in tribute to this revered figure. Many Filipinos compare the loss of Aquino to losing a mother.
Mrs. Aquino was the Philippine’s first female president. She stepped into politics after her husband, opposition leader Senator Benigno Aquino Junior, was assassinated in 1983. Her “people power” movement of the 1980s led to the overthrow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos's children attended the wake today in a symbolic gesture of respect.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, has not been as successful as other countries in East and Southeast Asia in reducing poverty. According to the Australian Agency for International Development, in 2006, 27 percent of Philippine families lived in poverty. Poverty varies by region, but is more common in the southern part of the country.
Filipino boy in an SOS Children's Villages
SOS Children’s Villages in the Philippines to Fight Poverty
Being impoverished can destabilize families, leaving them unable to care properly for their children. In the Philippines, urban slums and child labor are widespread. SOS Children’s Villages, a charity that has saved the lives of children around the world since 1949, has been working in the Philippines since 1967.
SOS provides loving homes, professionally trained local SOS mothers, and sustained education and medical services to orphaned and abandoned children.
SOS On-Site to Offer an Array of Services
Today, SOS Children’s Villages operates seven villages across the Philippines. SOS does more than raise children. Its complementary facilities such as schools and clinics also serve local populations with the aim of keeping families intact. Its social centers offer daycare, counseling, and food assistance to strengthen neighborhood families.
SOS Children's Village in Iloilo, Philippines
Once children grow older, SOS youth facilities help them transition into independent lives and jobs. Many SOS Village “alumni” become successful and return to the SOS Village to give back in any way they can.
The SOS family-based model of care has given hope to thousands of children around the world whose lives would otherwise be very bleak. To help a child in the Philippines become a happy and productive contributor to society, consider sponsoring a child.