Davao’s child workers searching for ‘angels’

Oct. 03, 2007

DAVAO CITY —- The Department of Labor and Employment is looking for benevolent donors it calls “angels” to grant the wishes of child laborers.

DOLE 11 is set to launch the Project Angel Tree on October 26, inviting prospective donors it is expecting to share their blessings with child laborers.

Hannah Badilles, regional coordinator of the National Program against Child Labor (NPACL), said DOLE will be inviting big business companies, organizations and individuals who can become a donor, sponsor, friend, or a supporter to provide services which could come in a form of food, clothing, and shelter requirements; mentoring, livelihood, educational, medical assistance, work and training opportunities, for child laborers.

We are looking for partners who can make wishes of our child laborers come true, she said.

DOLE 11 solicits wishes from child laborers whose names appear on the list provided by nongovernment organizations (NGOs) with which DOLE is tying up in line with the Project Angel Tree implementation.

Badilles explained that DOLE will then enter wishes in a Wish Registry which can be accessed at www.projectangeltree.blogspot.com where donors can see profiles of prospective beneficiaries and their wishes so they can choose who to become an angel for.

The donor and his or her beneficiary will get the chance to see each other in a gift-giving ceremony arranged in December this year.

To put a personal touch, donors are encouraged to write a note to the child whose wish they want to grant, Badilles said.

The Project Angel Tree falls under the NPACL which is a multi-sectoral collaboration for child labor elimination.

DOLE cited a Labor Force Survey conducted from October 2003 to October 2005 showing results reduction by 0.8 percent in number of working children nationwide, indicating a decrease of around 97,000.

DOLE said the figure is quite promising to save some 4 million children aged five to 17 who are already working, of whom 2.4 million are found to have been exposed to physical, biological and chemical hazards.

More than saving these child laborers from the hazards of labor, DOLE wants to drum up community participation leading to the formation of a so-called social capital which DOLE said refers to the network of positive social relations that provide a context of trust and support to held access resources.

Project Angel Tree exemplifies DOLEs effort to build social capital and engage the community to support child labor, DOLE said. (PIA XI/RSCWC/JMDA)

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