SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Philippines).

Zarraga is about 20-25 minutes from the city of Iloilo, in the southeast of Panay Island. The town of Zarraga has a population of around 27,000 people. The nearby city of Iloilo, home to around half a million people, is growing very rapidly. Most of the population continues to live off agriculture and fishing. The unemployment rate is very high, and many families live below the national poverty line.

Since 2003, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Iloilo.

Of households experience food insecurity in Iloilo

Food insecurity

A growing number of children are losing parental care in the area where Iloilo is located. The absence of regular and stable employment means that families cannot meet their needs and those of their children. Around 53% of households in Iloilo do not have regular access to food. This affects the health of all family members, but children are most at risk. Many children in the area are also unable to go to school and get an education. This will affect their future lives, unless they are given support so that they can go to school and receive further training.

Children between 5 and 17 were working in 2020

Working children

In 2020, around 31.2 million children were between 5 to 17 years of age in the Philippines. Among them, 872,000 or 2.8% work. The majority of children who worked were aged between 15 and 17 years. They worked in agriculture, services sector and in industry. Work that does not hinder the child from going to school, playing and resting and that serves to improve the child's quality of life is not considered child labour. However, with child labour the opposite is true, and children will work in hazardous environments with long working hours. This child labour deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and is often harmful to physical and mental development.

Your support makes a difference for children in Iloilo

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Online learning became very important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, young people in Iloilo have continued to use technology for educational purposes (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Philippines).

How your support helps in Iloilo

Strengthening vulnerable families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.