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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Smokey Mountain Christmas

I told my daughters about Smokey Mountain when we went to the Philippines a couple of years ago. I didn't get to show it to them though. Even my aunts who still live in the Philippines didn't think it would be a good idea to go 'touring' around there. They said the smell is atrocious and the neighborhood is dangerous. So we didn't go. My daughters had to satisfy their curiosity with pictures. We did see similar conditions of abject poverty, but not to the same degree, in the provinces we visited.

My daughters don't complain about Christmas presents anymore. I think they are growing up or maybe they learned something by hearing about places like smokey mountain and visiting similar areas in the Philippines. I can't speak for what they think or what's in their hearts, but they don't whine when they don't get the laptop or fancy cell phone or media player or play stations that their friends get at Christmas time. They know they are more fortunate than a great many other children in the world even if they don't receive any presents. They at least have a roof over their heads, food whenever they are hungry, clothes on their back and even get to splurge in whatever they want or enjoy doing every once in a while.

This holiday, one of the most worthy charities to support is the Christmas For Payatas, organized by and the Lighthouse Center for Children Foundation. They provide aid to the children who live there, eking a living from the mountain of trash. Children here, for instance, do not hesitate to throw food dropped on a clean linoleum floor in the trash can. There, the kids don't deem food they find in the trash as rotten until they see worms squirming in it. Here, kids moan and groan for having to get up early to go to school. There, kids wake up early on purpose to get the best trash, if there is such a thing. They would love to go to school because they have never been. Watch this touching video, borrowed from the Christmas for Payatas website to see how even just the smallest act of kindness and charity can make such a big difference.

The landfill in Payatas, The Philippines, is notoriously known the world over as Smokey Mountain. For over 35 years, the smoking dump site has grown to become a stark and heart-tugging reminder of the desperate conditions of humanity.

On a daily basis, children pick through newly arrived garbage to
collect material to sell. The earnings made by one child are not enough to even buy food for the day. Hence, entire families are forced to climb the mountain each day, hoping to earn enough to feed everyone. Children as young as four years old are forced to work in this daily struggle for survival.

In response to the plight of these children, is working with Lighthouse Center For Children Foundation to bring a little cheer to the children this Christmas. has kicked off with a cash sponsorship of USD 10,000 to enable the children to celebrate Christmas. FusionExcel International has also pitched in a USD 5,000 in cash sponsorship. The money raised
will help fund the projects already in place, and help fund additional projects aimed at providing better housing, and a means of livelihood for the Payatas community.

It is hoped that by creating better awareness to the plight of these children, more support can be garnered towards their betterment. Together we can bury poverty!

Please donate if you can and help spread the word.

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