SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Philippines).

With about 1.5 million inhabitants, the city of Davao is the largest city on the group of islands that comprise Mindanao in the southern Philippines. Southern Mindanao is an important economic centre: there are gold mines nearby and the area produces a considerable amount of fruit. However, it is also a particularly conflict-affected region, where decades of fighting have marked the lives of many. The island is also prone to climate change-related disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. As a result, hundreds of thousands are forced to leave their homes and living in vulnerable situations.

Since 1981, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Davao.

14 out of 100
Families are poor in the Davao Region

Urban poverty

In Davao City, there is a growing number of people living in poverty slums. An estimated 14% of families in the Davao Region live in poverty. Thousands of people commute daily in order to work or do business in the city. Other regions of the island continue to have high poverty rates and this pushes people to migrate to the city of Davao, in search of a brighter future for themselves and their families. However, the majority of the people who come to the city in search of a better life end up living in slums. They live in improvised housing with dirt floors, no clean water and no sewage system. Access to other services such as education and healthcare is also lacking.

People displaced in Davao earthquake in late 2019

Natural disasters and displacement

Many people in Mindanao, where Davao is located, have been displaced by conflict and natural disasters. As of May 2022, armed conflict has forced119,000 people to leave their homes. Due to the region’s geographic location, it is also prone to natural disasters. In November 2019, earthquakes in Davao displaced 13,600 people. When homes were destroyed, it is challenging for families to recover. The displacement that accompanies disasters often puts women and girls at high risk of gender-based violence. Reducing poverty and strengthening vulnerable communities will increase their capacity to adapt to climate related disasters.

Your support makes a difference for children in Davao

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Young men cooking together. Learning how to cook will help them to look after themselves in the future (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Philippines).

How your support helps in Davao

Strengthening vulnerable families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.