The island of Siargao is located 800km southeast of Manilla in Surigao del Norte province. Siargao Island faces the Pacific Ocean as well as the Philippine Trench, and its surface area is of approx. 437 km2. The island counts sixteen hundred thousand inhabitants. The association head office is in Genera Luna. Its beneficiaries are however located in various location on Siargao, such as Consuelo, Union, Datu, Maasin, Cabitoonan, Catangan and Dapa.
Most families living in Siargao isolated island have 5 to 10 children. The labour market is totally saturated, so very few opportunities are available. To survive, fishing and coconut harvesting activities are the main working solutions, which only pay 200 PHP / day – 4.80 CHF. Some parents do not have sufficient revenue to pay for their children education, since they only have just enough to feed their family. Rice and fish are part of the basic food and a family’s daily consumption reaches 4 kilos of rice (the cheapest rice sells for 34 PHP per kilo). Consequently, those prefer to send their children fishing or door to door selling, instead of sending them to school. Furthermore, it is common that children are told to stay at home, in order to take care of their siblings, while their parents are working.
Admission fees for preschools and primary schools in the Philippines are of 250 PHP per year, which represents a significant amount for a large part of the population. Various additional expenses have to be added including the purchase of uniforms, school supplies, expenses related to the graduation ceremony, etc. Therefore, a budget of 2000 PHP (48 CHF) per year and per child has been established. There are also expensive private schools, which only a minority of the most affluent people can afford. Furthermore, a disproportionate majority of people who have limited access to education are part of ethnic minorities and natives living in remote and economically marginalized regions, such as Siargao. Access to quality education on this island, is thus marked by inequalities in terms of regional affiliation and financial resources.
Siargao Masaya developed and implemented various projects, based on the observation of the direct link existing between the well being and the family development on one hand, and the children education on the other. Access to education and economic autonomy are major projects in order to fight against school non-attendance, child labor and consequences of poverty in general.