Nine-year-old Elmer lives in Sapang Palay, a resettlement area where the Philippine government relocates families who are economically disadvantaged from Metro Manila to outside of the city. These families get low-cost housing and a lot of land, which they pay at an affordable rate over a period of time. Elmer’s family owns their small row house but still rents the lot.
His mother, Cristina, suffered a mild stroke, so she stays at home and does the limited house chores she can. Elmer and his three siblings all attend school, supported by their father, Oscar, who works as an electrician with a weekly income equal to $35. Oscar can barely pay for his family’s basic daily needs, including food and school expenses. Sometimes, the family can’t afford to have three meals a day.
Without money for transportation, their third-grader has to walk the kilometer to school every day — but he loves to go. Elmer loves to read books, and last school year, he was awarded “best behaved” in his class.
But Elmer is considered one of the most undernourished children at his school.
In August, Feed the Children started a supplemental feeding program for malnourished children in Elmer’s school, a new site selected due to the depressed situation in Sapang Palay. His parents are thrilled that Elmer is enrolled in the program because they see it making a real difference. Even when he can’t get enough food at home, Elmer can count on his healthy school meal. So far, Elmer has gained 11 pounds and is on the way to recovering from malnutrition.