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Cebu, an island in the southern Philippines, is home to over 125,000 children in extreme poverty. That's a number so large, it is equal to the entire child population of Las Vegas, Nevada. Low education rate, no birth control, and parents who are either unable or unwilling to provide support for their children, has led to wide spread poverty. Streets have become playgrounds; little girls become objects; boys become drug runners; and city dumps become homes. It's known as the cycle of poverty. And as time goes by, it only gets worse.
For many children, their story begins in ruin. *Something about "Refuge"*
This is the story of the children of the trash.
This is the home of 12 year old girl, named Melogin, and her family. The city dump. Melogin has lived here her entire life. Every morning, she watches her mother and father get up with the sun rise to scavenge through the trash. With each new night, dump trucks from the city add new loads of garbage to the mountains of trash. Her parents recycle certain kinds of waste for money. They work from dawn until dark each and every day and will collect about four pounds of paper. For each pound of paper, they receive four cents. About one cent per hour. It's enough to buy a little bread every few days, but everyone goes to bed hungry.
Melogin does not have her own bedroom, her family does not have a living room or bathroom… in fact, for Melogin's entire family of 8, there is only a shelter the size of a small car. The closest they have to running water is this river, which is mostly runoff from the garbage itself. Not even the animals will go near it. In 2011, during the rainy season, the river rose so high that the family was trapped in the shelter for 3 days- with the pig and chickens.
As a child, well, your options are limited. There is no decent school for you to attend. Many of the kids find rocks or pieces of trash to play with throughout the day. As you get older, scavenging through the trash is all you can do. You don't leave; you have no where to go. No one will hire someone who smells like garbage, with no education, and few social skills. For most children, they will live in the trash from birth until death. Sadly, it isn't often a long lifetime.
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