Despite the very real economic progress made in the last twenty years, millions of Filipinos still live in poverty. Street children (many orphaned) are one of the saddest consequences of this – some reports estimate some 1.5 million kids are living rough. In Manila and other large cities you’ll see very small children begging for money in the street or dancing in front of cars at dangerous interchanges for tips. You’ll also come across kids aggressively begging for change; sometimes they are known as “rugby boys” – nothing to do with the sport but a famous brand of glue that they sniff. Many locals refuse to give them money for fear of encouraging dangerous behaviour – others give a few pesos out of pity. If you want to help a good place to start is Street Kids International (wwww.streetkids.org), or the Cavite-based Life Child (wwww.lifechild.org).

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