The city of Cebu in the Visayas region is one of the largest cities in the Philippines. Cebu city is a well-developed industrial centre and is home to around 1 million people. Its large commercial port plays a central role in domestic shipping.
In recent years, the service sector has become increasingly important - IT businesses and call centres are opening up offices in the city and the tourism industry continues to expand and attract visitors to the beautiful historic and natural sites.
Since 1980, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Cebu.
Despite strong economic growth in the Philippines, rates of poverty remain high. Nearly 23% of people live on less than $1.25 USD per day. In a need to escape grinding poverty in the rural areas, many move to Cebu City in search of a better life.
However, most end up living in slum-like conditions, characterized by the lack of durable and permanent housing that protects against extreme weather conditions. There is a lack of clean water, sewerage systems or electricity and access to other social services such as healthcare is lacking. Children living in urban slums need extra support so that they can go to school and stay healthy.
The high levels of child malnutrition in the Philippines is mostly due to poverty, when children are not able to get the food they need to grow. Many children die in their first few years of life due to a lack of access to sanitation and clean water, low immunization coverage and reasons related to climate change. Every day, 95 children in the Philippines die from malnutrition and a third of children are small for their age.
Food security becomes more critical when people move to the city. Without the option of growing food themselves, parents without a stable income struggle to get adequate and nutritious food.