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Helping children since 1996

Unang Hakbang Foundation helps street and other children realize their potential, expand their life options, and grow into empowered and empowering adults. For the past 14 years, we have helped children from very poor urban communities stay in school and helped those out-ofschool get back on the education track.


Despite today’s crush of people, until 1948, there were only 19MM Filipinos. When America consolidated its hold on the Philippines in 1903, we were even less than half that number; fewer still at the start of the Spanish colonial period

The Way We Were Population

Spanish Period, 1591

Gap In % Years Growth


American Period, 1903 First Bureau of Census & Statistics Data, 1948




NSO Data, 2007




National Capital Region, 13% of total population in 2007


312 1044%

11,553,427 NCSB

Today, we are a country of over 88MM people, 11.5MM of whom – 60% of the total population in 1948 – live in the National Capital Region. Between 1948, three years after World War II when we numbered only 19MM, and today is just a little over 60 years, a period less than the average person’s lifetime. It should not surprise if many of our institutions seem fragile and major portions of our social infrastructure often not coherent.

Having said that, we need to strive harder and take better care of the next generation. Today, children aged 14 & below, make up 37% of the population. These are 28.3MM children – more than triple the number of all Filipinos at the start of the American Colonial Period. In the National Capital Region alone, there are 4.3MM children.

The Next Generation Total Population, 2000 14 & Below

76,504,077 28,313,897 Under 1 1-4 5-9 10-14

National Capital Region (est.)

1,917,431 7,752,071 9,694,781 8,949,614

100% 37% 3% 10% 13% 12%

4,274,768 NCSB

The problem is very clear in the area of education.

While the national population grew more than 2% annually in the last 10 years, school enrollment increased by less than 1% annually over the same period.

Failing To Keep Up Population





1995 2000 2001/2002 2002/2003 2003/2004 2004/2005 2005/2006 2006/2007 2007

68,616,536 76,504,077

2.32% 2.36%





12,759,900 12,826,218 12,979,628 13,032,864 13,096,719 13,006,647 13,121,648 13,396,988

0.4% 0.5% 1.2% 0.4% 0.5% -0.7% 0.9% 2.1% DepEd Fact Sheet

The public school system has borne the brunt of educating the nation’s children. Over 90% of children who enroll are in the public schools.

An Overburdened Public School System Total Enrollment

2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997

13,396,988 13,121,648 13,006,647 13,096,719 13,032,864 12,979,628 12,826,218 12,759,900 12,707,788 12,502,524 12,225,038

Public School

12,304,207 12,083,661 11,990,686 12,101,061 12,075,013 12,050,450 11,916,686 11,832,611 11,786,622 11,562,181 11,295,982

% Share

92% 92% 92% 92% 93% 93% 93% 93% 93% 92% 92% DepEd Fact Sheet

While the public school system has been criticized severely for inadequate facilities, the poor quality of teaching and error-filled textbooks, the results of academic achievement tests show some hard-earned successes. Achievement test scores have risen from 51% in 1997 to 65% in 2007.

Small Improvements 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Achievement Rate 50.78% 50.08% 49.19% 51.73% ... ... ... 58.73% 54.66% 59.94% 64.81%

Math 51.75% 52.45% 45.69% 49.75% ... ... 59.45% 59.40% 53.66% 60.29% 63.89%

Science 52.68% 49.93% 48.61% 49.75% ... ... 52.59% 54.12% 46.77% 51.58% 57.90%

English 49.13% 46.40% 46.32% 47.70% ... ... 49.92% 59.15% 54.05% 60.78% 61.62% DepEd Fact Sheet

The improvement in test scores has been accompanied by an increase in the cohort survival rate – the percentage of children who enter Grade 1 together and graduate at the same time. This has risen from 65% to 75% over the last 10 years; but it still means that a quarter of all children are not completing their elementary schooling. More worrisome, a declining participation rate indicates that a growing number of school age children are not even entering school. Drop out rates are highest before children reach Grade 4. The good news is that children who make it to Grade 4 are likely to complete their elementary schooling.

Key Indicators Participation Rate Cohort Survival 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

95.09% 95.73% 96.95% 96.77% ... ... 88.74% 87.11% 84.44% 83.22% 84.84%

64.96% 64.09% 63.46% 63.45% ... ... 71.84% 71.32% 70.02% 73.43% 75.26%

Transition Rate (G4 to G5) 95.98% 95.47% 95.50% 95.64% 96.24% ... 96.22% 95.95% 95.65% 96.19% 96.97% DepEd Fact Sheet

10 years ago, the school participation rate was a high 95%. The accompanying cohort survival rate of 65% however meant that more than a third of school children were dropping out. In 2007, the situation went the reverse with the cohort survival rate rising and the participation rate sadly declining. Under the world Education For All initiative (EFA), the Philippines’ stated goal is a participation rate in the elementary school level of 95% by 2010 and 98% by 2015 with the cohort survival rate at 79% and 85%, respectively in the same years.

Key Indicators 2007 2006 2005



2003 2002

Transition Rate (G4 to G5)




1999 1998 1997








Why do children drop out of school? According to the Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) conducted in 2003, the majority of children, aged 5-17, were simply not interested in school. This was specially true among 5-9 year-olds or those in Grades 1-4, the group which has had the highest dropout rates. It is important to acknowledge this and relate it to the earlier data. As the students’ ability to cope with school improved – reflected in higher achievement test scores – more have stayed in school raising the cohort survival rate. Dropping out because of the cost of schooling was a factor of equal importance only as children reached working age.

Reasons for Dropping Out

Not interested in school Cannot afford Need to work Illness/Disability Family-related Other reasons





33% 28% 19% 4% 2% 14%

30% 18% 17% 6% 4% 24%

34% 22% 15% 7% 3% 18%

32% 32% 21% 3% 2% 11% FLEMMS 2003

The importance of the child’s ability as a deciding factor in whether or not he drops out of school is confirmed by a 2007 study completed by Bacolod and Ranjan using data from a Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS). All things being equal, a child perceived to be less able is more likely to be dropping out of school.

Child Ability & Household Wealth 

Poor households with high ability children are more likely to send them to school than poor households with low ability children. Low income households may even let their low-ability children simply remain idle. Even within the same household, the less able child is significantly more likely to be working or idle while his more able sibling is significantly more likely to be in full-time schooling. Bacolod & Ranjan (2007) “Why Children Work, Attend School, or Stay Idle: The Roles of Ability and Household Wealth”

Do a lot of children actually have such low abilities that a quarter of them opt to drop out of school?

Perhaps it’s time to start recognizing the other kinds of smarts.

Influencing Child Ability ď ˝

Multiple intelligences: bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, verbal-linguistic, logicalmathematical, naturalistic, intrapersonal, visualspatial, musical

Illustration from

Influencing Child Ability 

Children require a stimulating environment, one that engages their attention and provides a variety of experiences

They need room to experiment: “A person is what he is, not because of the teachers he has had, but as a result of that which he has done himself.” (Maria Montessori)

Unfortunately, in a community such as this, an overabundance of stimuli may leave a child unable to cope or stay in control of himself, leading to behaviors that get him labeled as unpredictable, disinterested, or of low ability.

What UHF Offers Attentiveness to the needs of “invisible” children –  

Children who are failing in school or who may pass their tests but are at the bottom of the class Street children who attract public attention only because they misbehave Older children who are not in school but who fall outside the policy definition of “out-of-school youth”

Our Philosophy We believe each of us are responsible for our own future. We help children best by enabling them to realize their potential, expand their life options, and grow into empowered and empowering adults. Finally, we strive to leave no child behind.

Our Mission We create safe places that provide children with a rich environment of learning and experiences to help them develop an inner sense of competency. By making this an environment that also encourages trust and engenders hope, we reinforce their innate resilience and ability to cope with the early challenges of disadvantage.

To reach street and out-of-school children and youth and those at-risk of dropping out of school, we locate our centers, our children’s sanctuaries, where they live or “work”.

Bahay ni San Francisco was our first center. It opened directly onto the street opposite EDSA Shangri-La Hotel and catered to the street children of EDSA Crossing providing them a place to rest, bathe, have a meal and study.

In 2007, BSF moved to a quieter part of the city at 39 Calbayog St., Bgy. Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City.

Bahay ni Nino Hesus located within the Welfareville Compound was established in April 2000 to serve children within their own community. It is sited on space borrowed from the Samahan ng Magkakapit-Bahay Inc. (SMBI).

Bahay ni Jose at the Botanical Garden in Bgy. Addition Hills is located in space lent by the City of Mandaluyong.

Bahay ng Pastol on Fabella St., Bgy. Plainview serves as UHF’s administrative headquarters. It also houses UrChef, the bakery project which is both a fund-raising initiative and a training ground for future kitchen helpers.

Our Programs Aral Kalinga is a mentoring and tutorial program for –  

out-of-school children & youth, and public elementary school children with average grades of 78% & below.

We provide tutorial classes in reading, writing and math and on the Alternative Learning System (ALS).

We take in 200-250 children annually in our program for public school children. We monitor grades and give a stipend of P50 ($1)/week to those whose average grades rise to 80% and P100 ($2)/week to those with average grades of 85%.

Tutorials on the Alternative Learning System follows the format prescribed by the Department of Education to prepare learners for the annual Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Examination, enabling them to obtain a grade school or high school equivalency certificate.

Aral Kalinga is about

opening a window to other life options and encouraging children to become the best they can be.

“Dito, tinuruan ako kung paano magbasa, magsulat magkwenta at magdisiplina sa sarili. Pinakuha ako ng PEPT exam nguni’t hindi ko ito naipasa. Sa halip na kalimutan ko ang Unang Hakbang Foundation dahil hindi ako nakapasa, hindi ko ito ginawa. Alam ko na bawa’t bata na kanilang inaalagaan ay mahal nila, kaya naglaro sa aking isipan na dahil mahal nila kami, hindi nila kami pababayaan.” Edwin, 21 A client since 2001. Now a 4th year student at a night high school.

PEPT is the Philippine Educational Placement Test

“Here, I learned to read, write, count, and practice selfdiscipline. They had me take the PEPT exam which I failed. But I didn’t go back on Unang Hakbang Foundation because I failed. I didn’t do this because I knew they loved us. And I thought since they love us, they will not give up on us.” Edwin, 21 A client since 2001. Now a 4th year student at a night high school. PEPT is the Philippine Educational Placement Test

Our Programs Buhay Kalinga is about helping children grow into empowered and empowering individuals. We strive to develop in them –   

a critical attitude or an interest in “knowing why” an awareness of their worth and an appreciation for others confidence in their abilities and an attitude of caring

Pagpapahalaga – valuing oneself and others; Pakikipagkapwa – reaching out and helping others; and Pagsasarili – becoming independent – are the focus of Buhay Kalinga.

Pagpapahalaga – valuing oneself and others Although UHF is not a faithbased organization, our belief that we are children of God animates all that we do and the value we place on the young people we help.

We showcase our children’s abilities and promote their integration into the community through Ugnayang Sining – an annual exhibit showcasing the children’s artworks that has been mounted since 2001.

Talon Takbo Likha is a summer arts and sports program that has also been organized regularly since 2001.

It harnesses the spirit of volunteerism among college students and their coaches who dedicate a big part of their vacation to making children happy.

In May 2008, we helped organize a sports day among street children, the local police, and members of the barangay peace-keeping force. It was the culminating activity of the Pagkatao Workshops which aimed to promote understanding among street children and the adults in charge of policing the community.

Pakikipagkapwa – reaching out and helping others We want our young people to become good stewards and make the practice of charity – esp. helping people outside of their own families – a natural and integral element of their lives. UHF’s participation in networks of NGOs likewise provides a venue for our young people to broaden their horizon, become better integrated and more socially involved.

In Magtulungang at Mag-Aral, a peer tutorial program, we have over a dozen children actively volunteering to help other children. They start as Munting Titsers and as they mature and improve their skills, they become a Batang Guro and given a small allowance to recognize their efforts and encourage the development of a proper work ethic.

Kwentuhang Bata is a community read aloud held two Saturdays a month with volunteer children reading to other children. We would have 15-20 very young volunteers reading to 10 other children each, reaching out to 150-200 neighborhood children during each event.

Pagsasarili – becoming independent We affirm our young people’s desire not to be a burden to their families by channeling that need to be productive in work skills classes and paid apprenticeships and by striving at all times to link education directly to work.

At a forum with street children and youth that UHF organized in 2006, Talakayang Lansangan, all roads led to work – education was important principally to qualify for better jobs and good health, so that they can stay on the job. Shelter was not an issue as they could lay their heads any where. The house would come after they started earning a good income.

Under StepUP, a partnership with Visayan Forum, in turn a partner of Microsoft Philippines Inc., we provide computer literacy classes to children and youth. The program seeks to expand the skills of these young people and eliminate their vulnerability to human trafficking.

Bagging It! is a temporary job placement. For three Christmas seasons, our older boys have worked with SM Supermarket as baggers.

In May 2009, UHF was a beneficiary of Mandaluyong City’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES). Through the program, 20 young people undertook a survey of the number of school-age children in Welfareville, Bgy. Addition Hills and Calbayog, Highway Hills.

To hone the children’s fine motor skills and their eye for detail and form, we have weekly art classes and regular writing exercises. The creative process gives the children practice in close observation and critical thinking. 100 children on average attend the weekly art class. Reflection papers and diary entries is required after most activities.

In UrChef, we combine a fund-raising project for UHF and a work opportunity for older children. P5 from every cookie baked is shared by those who help make them. It helps keep out-of-school youth in UHF’s programs and active in the alternative learning classes.

Our Accomplishments Since 1996, we have reached out to a mobile population of upward of 13,000 children with 30% of those, or roughly 4,000, becoming regular participants in our programs. 

  

Two former street children are now in high school Others are working with us as volunteer peer tutors and junior office assistants Stipends for those who improve their grades has gone from nil to P32,000 annually. Learners taking the A&E examination has risen from 2 to 20.

A survey, conducted in May 2009 of all households in the communities where UHF had a presence, showed a school participation rate of 99% which was above the participation rate of 92.9% and 75.1% among elementary school and high school children in the National Capital Region that was reported by the Department of Education for School Year 2006/2007.

Our peer tutorial program has grown with many of our original peer tutors staying to help teach other children despite having moved on to high school. Their ranks now include out-ofschool children and youth tutoring other out-of-school children and youth who are working on their grade school or high school certification.

We have continued to expand our young people’s access to opportunities for work. We have found roles for older children within UHF itself. Under a partnership with the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation (HLAF), UHF youth have become paralegal interns helping in the work of decongesting the country’s jails.

Helping the most disadvantaged children, however, continues to be a major challenge. We maintain a watchful eye on all our past children and continue to dialogue with them because we want no one being left behind.

Our Future Over the next 3 years –  

Grow the Batang Guro program to transform our existing centers into youth-run centers for children Establish centers in other cities of Metro Manila and partnerships with community organizations in the provinces to expand our reach Create linkages with the business sector and online educational institutions to ensure work for our young people and create a pathway for life-long learning

Organization 

UHF was formally incorporated in December 1999 after starting life as a weekly interaction with street children in September 1996. We are registered and licensed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as a social welfare agency implementing communitybased services for children and youth. We are also a registered as a volunteer organization with the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA).

Memberships    

Metrowest Network (MWN) for Children In Need of Special Protection (CNSP) National Council for Social Development (NCSD) Area-Based Standards Network (ABSNET)-NCR Metro East Cluster E-Net Philippines

Become Involved ď ˝

Donate time or treasure. We regularly need volunteer-tutors and administrative workers.

Give! It takes just P1,000 ($20)/month or P10,000 ($200)/year to support a child in our program. ď ˝

Become a Member. Make UHF your principal charity and make an annual personal or professional financial commitment of at least P20,000 ($400). Ensure that there is continuous innovation within UHF.

Become Involved

ď ˝

Patronize UrChef. Call us at (632) 531-3474 to order.

Become Involved

ď ˝

Purchase our cards & calendars. Call us at (632) 5313474 to order.

Contact Us Telephone

(632) 531 3474

Administrative (632) 535 1257 Office


Website bangfoundation/

Created June 2009. Revised December 2009.

Overcoming Disadvantage  

Background on Unang Hakbang Foundation

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