The Philippines is one of the most vibrant economies in the East Asia and the Pacific region, with GDP growth rates of around 6%. Cuts in interest rates and increased government spending have increased economic confidence. A quite stable banking sector and the reduction of foreign debts contributed to the general positive macroeconomic development of the country.
Nevertheless, this economic growth is not embracing every sector of society and still about one-third of its population live below the poverty line of 1.25 USD per day. This situation impacts clearly, among others the educational sector where according to the survey carried out in June 2017 by the Philippine Statistics Authority, one in ten Filipinos aged 6 to 24 years is an out of school child or youth. This also means that in the country we have around 3.8 million out of school children due to different reasons such as marriage/family matters (42%), high cost of education and insufficient family income (20%) and lack of interest in education. Moreover, even the students that decide to proceed with their studies may encounter different issues, since most of them are attending public schools where education is free on one side, but lacking of facilities, resources and teachers on the other.
Aware of this situation the ST Foundation launched the DU Program in the country in 2012 with the key scope to make available infrastructures and good quality education to marginalized sectors of society. The activity, which has always kept evolving over the years, is now serving 2 areas (Cavinti and Calamba) where the majority of beneficiaries are attending public schools with limited provision of computers while also benefitting out of school students, and the unemployed since it is offered free of charge.
Relevant achievements were the launch of the Tablet for Kids course and the partnership with Calamba Department of Education. These results are definitely helping the organization to achieve better results which are achieved with the precious support of local ST volunteers who are always looking for new opportunities and projects.
As of December 31, 2019 we trained over 4,700 people and the figures will for sure grow in the coming months.