Her name is Princess and it conjures grandeur and endless lines of maids ready to serve her every desire. Yet she was not born with a golden spoon in her mouth. There are no gold cups and shiny silverware at their table. Empty plates and pots remind her of their daily task of finding food for their brood.
Princess is 13 years old but still a Grade 2 student. In order to survive, Princess and her father had to walk everyday to peddle fish. “Naglalako po ako ng isda kasama ang aking tatay pagkatapos ng aking klase.” With these words Princess sums up her life of struggling between school and helping her father earn a living.
Grace M. Kapunitan, 12 years old and a Grade 4 student can relate to her. During weekends, she sells kangkong to help her family earn a living. There was also a time she stopped schooling just to earn a living.
There are other children like Princess and Grace, born into poor families and engaged to work at such a tender age. Often they walk to school barefoot or with tattered slippers. They attend classes with torn bags and limited school supplies. They are children vulnerable to child labor and a number of them are found at Malaban Elementary School.
On June 18, 2014, Princess and Grace joined other excited indigent school children at the covered court to receive brand new school bags, notebooks, pencils, slippers and umbrellas from the Laguna Labor Management Council (LLMC). The Council celebrated World Day Against Child Labor (held Every June 12) by visiting the school to distribute bags with school supplies.
DOLE Laguna Provincial Office Director Milagros Mata stated that the activity was in line with DOLE’s Project Angel Tree which was made possible with the support of companies that donated bags and school supplies. “The children really deserve to be in school and the public-private partnership nurtured by the Council made the project possible,” she declared.
The bags and schools supplies were donated by the following companies led by LLMC officers themselves: JX Nippon Steel, Hearty Beverage, Hitachi Global Systems Inc., Monde Nissin, EMS Components Assembly Inc, Nikoshi, GF Micro, Hitachi Global Systems Inc., AIC, Superflex and San Miguel Yamamura.