While the children in the slum community of Sagkahan exude expressions of joy, their living environment creates a variety of complications for their health and well-being. Our visit to this community from 2006 until it was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 revealed to us the ill effects of slum life and the very real need for more sustainable building to provide alternatives for those in communities such as these.
Brett Madron speaks at a church in a rural area outside Tacloban City, Leyte. While over 80% of the population in the Philippines is 'Christian', a lack of biblical education has had ill-effects on the quality of influence the Church is able to have on society at large.
The rice crop is the most important crop to the Filipino people. They are the 8th largest producer of rice in the world. Due to the factors of population increase and lack of irrigation infrastructure, the Philippines is also the largest importer of the rice crop in the world.
Julie Carpenter becomes acquainted with children in the slum community of Sagkahan. Primary education is an emphasis in our development work in the Philippines, particularly in communities where children don't have the financial capacity to undergo a quality education experience.
Craig Duffy assists in the cleanup of a house in Sagkahan in 2006. The lack of access to basic utilities leads to unsanitary living conditions in houses such as this. The bucket in his hand is one of several that contained human feces that were removed to help sanitize the house.
Nathan Cameron and Austin Bennecker build shelving for a house that frequently floods so that the family who lives there can protect their valuables by keeping them off the floor.
These children have a countenance that is contagious, yet their living environment is far less from suitable for their well-being. Playing in streams of raw sewage is not uncommon for them, but should be abhorred sight. These are the conditions the South East Asia team desires to transform into areas of land that thrive with healthy human beings.
Scrap metal is a coveted roofing material in slum communities. In a tropical climate that is impoverished, people must be innovative to secure proper housing to avoid the issues with the elements.
Founder and CEO Gregg Garner spends time with his family in Dulag, on the island of Luzon. Gregg's parents met when Mike (his father) was handing out Bibles as a young soldier on the streets of Olongapo. Our organization's presence in the Philippines originates from their family's time there in the 80s as missionaries.
Young men at Zion Bible College come from various islands in the Philippines to receive training in how to be competent ministers in the communities from where they come. We are excited to continue strengthening the opportunities for quality biblical education for young people in the Philippines.
Pedicabs are a common form of transportation for those in urban areas in the Philippines. Often times, the drivers work 12-14 hour days only to come up short of what they need to provide for their families. But with minimal skill level required, and little overhead, it is at least some means of income for many adult men in a business industry that values the energy of youth.
A group of indigenous children from an Aeta tribe enjoy a hot day's swim in the mountain river. The river is a source of drinking water, cooking water, bathing, food (crabs and fish), and clothes washing for this tribe that is largely disconnected from the technologies of the surrounding society.
Jason Carpenter spends the afternoon playing with a couple orphan boys at a children's home on the island of Luzon. The home often takes in boys who would otherwise have to spend time in detention facilities that do not have a reputation for rehabilitation. At this particular facility, the boys are given a holistic opportunity for development - including classroom education, physical education, and often psychological restoration from the trauma that many of them have experienced.
At a youth conference on the island of Cebu in 2007, students come together to talk about how they can be a change to the communities in which they live. Many were moved and energized to take responsibility for the future of their community by taking on the role of servants and meeting basic needs.
Tara Garner teaches a character values course in a secondary school located on the island of Cebu. A group of development workers from G.O.D. Int'l were able to spend a week investing into youth from ages 10-16, connecting them to how their education can be connected to bringing health to their families and communities.
Kathryn Montgomery and Cannon Cameron perform basic wound care on a child living in a squatter village. Minor cuts and wounds can become major infections in only a few days if not treated properly, which is sadly the case for many children who call these inhumane environments 'home'.
Jaimee Arroyo performs basic wound care alongside friend, Emarose, for a child living in a dumpsite squatter village. Access to proper healthcare and sanitation does not exist for the families who call this environment home.
Ty and Chris are learning to work with one of the Philippines most abundant crops, bamboo. Bamboo is a viable option for the construction of small structures, particularly in more rural areas.
In 2010 the SEA team visited an Aeta village in the mountains on the Island of Luzon. The Aeta community is a marginalized indigenous population of the Philippines. Although the government created legislation over 13 years ago to protect their rights, the situation of the Aeta has changed little. Many of them continue to lose their ancestral lands, remain impoverished, and lack access to adequate healthcare and education.
Meg Mathews assists in the labor and birth of the woman to her right alongside a local Filipina midwife. In a nation where only 16% of women breastfeed exclusively, Meg is trained to offer not only childbirth education but also lactation consultation for new mothers.
Teams distribute clothing, basic sanitation supplies, and educational materials to an Aeta (indigenous) village.
Joel Olson interviews a group of young men at a labor camp an economic zone near Olongapo City, which was formerly the U.S. Military Base. The transnational corporation that employs these men uses the old military barracks to house its workers. Labor is an issue in the Philippines, as many workers are abused and receive inadequate wages while doing jobs that are often hazardous, and even life threatening.
Leafa Vagatai and other team members talk with children on the streets in Barrio Barreto. This area is known for having a thriving 'sex tourism industry' that attracts men from different parts of the world who come to exploit young Filipina women. Many of the girls are brought here against their will, while others are drawn by the promise of an escape from poverty. The children that frequent the streets are extremely vulnerable to abuse by sexual predators, others that look take advantage of them.
Shaun Galford preaches from a passage in Isaiah to prisoners at the Olongapo City holding cell while Rina Miller translates. Prisoners often forgotten and ignored. The South East Asia Team is developing a holistic response to help the captive.
One of the most disturbing, yet consistent, sights in the Philippines is children at work. Many of them having not even reached their teenage years have spent most of their childhood in the market, hustling on the streets, or inside a factory. In 2011, the International Labor Organization reported that nearly 3 million children in the Philippines work in environments that are considered hazardous. As development workers, our responsibility is to offer an alternative for these children and their families, namely in the form of education.
Access to healthcare for those who live in poverty is bleak. Where the environment breeds poor sanitation, those who inhabit it are subject to disease and illness. Sarah Mascaro, takes time to offer wound care to a child in a city slum - a service that is simple, yet so lacking these environments.
Chris Cameron leads worship for our 2013 summer team and some friends made in ministry there during one of our weekly Bible Studies. Corporate worship and Bible study is an integral practice while on the field.
Rina Miller and Shaun Galford met this girl on their hike to bring supplies to a village in the mountains. She was returning to her village from the city where she helps her family by working in the market. She makes this trek, which is several miles, each day.
Elijah Galford (Left), the son of Shaun and Candace, colors alongside new friends, John Steven and William, at a weekly children's education program facilitated by the South East Asia Team during the Summer of 2013.
In the Summer of 2013 Jason Carpenter worked alongside the maintenance man of a non-profit organization on the Island of Luzon. The experience and friendship Jason gained during that time was invaluable. He is developing his skill set in plumbing, in order to meet needs in South East Asia associated with sanitation, waste management, and getting people access to safe drinking water.
The construction of these concrete buildings began around 1990 to provide housing for people in Olongapo City that worked industry jobs created by the United States military base in Subic Bay. In 1992 the volcano Mt. Pinatubo erupted, halting all industry and subsequently leading to the removal of the U.S base. The housing complex was never finished.
Julie Carpenter facilitates a game with John Steven, Rosemary, and William near Olongapo City. Julie is a Child Birth Education student at the Institute of G.O.D. Int'l and developing a specialty in pediatrics, in order to provide health care to infants, children, and adolescents in South East Asia.
In year 2013, GOD International sent 10 families to the Philippines. Not only did they learn cultural practices of living in the Philippines, but also how to navigate the environment while doing ministry work to benefit the marginalized in the regions of Luzon and Cebu. These are a few of the families with new friends in Olongapo City.
Shaun Galford conducts a Bible teaching from 1 Peter 2:9-10 with the faculty of a local ministry in Cebu.
Jason Carpenter, Austin Bennecker, Nate Cameron, and Shaun Galford share a meal with prisoners at the Olongapo City jail. This act of table fellowship communicates a message of compassion and solidarity - the recognition of and response to a need to participate in the activity of liberating captives.
Rina Miller is a G.O.D. South East Asia cooperative. She is a trained social worker that focuses on social reintegration of marginalized peoples. In this picture she is getting to know a child outside his classroom at an elementary school in Cebu.
City canals unfortunately often serve as sources of waste water and water that people use for cooking and washing. The stagnancy of the water also produces a variety of pests that carry disease.
Nathan Cameron teaches from Exodus 3 at the Lapu Lapu City Jail. Detainees in places like this have been known to wait up to 5 years to go to trial for crimes they are accused of committing. It becomes the role of the people of God to infuse hope into a place that feels like a stagnant pause in prisoners' lives.
On a cemetery visit in 2013, we learned that some 240 families live here amongst the dead. These families are in desperate need of social reintegration.
Watching this scene, you start to wonder where he's going, how he got his job, how long he will have to have this job and for whom he is working. Most of us can't imagine doing this kind of labor on a daily basis, but people work very hard to do what they must in order to provide for those for whom they are responsible.
The children pictured live in a dumpsite in Cebu. Their parents try to earn a living by scavenging through the trash in search of materials to recycle in order to make $2 to $3 a day. Because of poverty many children that live in the dumpsites also scavenge and are deprived an opportunity for education.
In 2013 Craig Duffy, Clark Miller, and Shaun Galford taught a 7 week Bible course at a jail in Cebu. On the last day there was a time for sharing testimony followed by a celebration. Pictured are the men holding the certificates they received for completing the course.
Shaun Galford preaches from the gospel of Luke in a Cebu city dumpsite chapel. His sermon was given in an effort to bring hope to a people that suffer from extreme poverty. The people who dwell at the dumpsite are deprived basic human needs such as food, safe drinking water, sanitation, education, health, and shelter. As a team we are working together to holistically meet the needs of the poor and marginalized in South East Asia.
Leafa Vagatai hosts a private tutoring session for two children of our friends in Tacloban. Leafa's training and experience in primary education has been beneficial during her 10 month study abroad in the Philippines where the primary education system is always in need of a helping hand.
Participants on summer internship 2015 handout a snack during a kid's camp in Tacloban City, Leyte. The camp was hosted at transitional housing for families who lost everything in Typhoon Haiyan in November of 2013.
Clark Miller facilitates a group exercise for English language learning students at Eastern Visayas State University. English is becoming a increasing demand from employers in the Philippines and for Filipinos who work abroad, a very popular option for college graduates who have a hard time finding work in the Filipino work field.
Among the memorials dedicated to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, there are so many lives unaccounted for, but not forgotten by the people. Memorials and destruction that still exists in the wake of the typhoon, provoke visual reminders for people every day of this tragedy.
Filipino youth read letters from members of our organization whom they have become acquainted with recently.
Kennedy Dupuis works with the laborers at the Tacloban City dump on summer internship 2016. The experience brings awareness to the difficulty of the lives of the poor and prompts the question, "What do I do about this?"