This November I will swap my comfortable life in Singapore to go and live and work in an urban slum in the Philippines.
Slum areas are often overcrowded, polluted, and dangerous with little access to water and sanitation. There is no legal land tenure and insecure shelter, usually on the least appealing plots of land.
Life is incredibly tough within these communities. Work is hard to find, sporadic and pays very little.
To raise money and awareness for my chosen charity I will live and work in one such community in Cebu City, Philppines, trying to survive and feed a family on my wages.
I will work as a “Trisikad” driver. A Trisikad is a small bicycle welded to an iron frame that serves as a pedalled powered taxi. It is an incredibly physically demanding job compounded by the intense heat and humidity of Cebu.
Trisikad fares are 5 Philippine pesos per person. A daily fee of 50 pesos (US$1.20) is payable for rental of the trisikad. I will need to do 20 trips to make just US$1.20 profit. I will need to provide for a family of 5 with my wages and so need to work as many hours as possible doing as many trips as I can, competing with all the other drivers for business.
I will be fully immersed in the community, sharing just a few square metres of living space with a family within a noisy, crowded and cramped squatter area.
Not only will it be a physical challenge for me as a foreigner and outsider it will also be tough to live in and be accepted by the community.
My challenge is to live and work for 7 full days as a trisikad driver. Cycling with as many as 3 and 4 passengers at a time in the blistering heat and 90% humidity for 12 hours or more a day. Covering at least 200-300km over the week on a bmx style bike with a heavy welded iron frame and the additional weight of passengers and goods. Taking no money with me I can only spend what I earn and I will need to provide all living expenses for 5 persons.
I am doing this challenge not only to raise money but also to raise awareness of life and work opportunities in these communities. That families work incredibly hard to try to get ahead yet it is barely enough to survive.
The cycle of poverty is the “set of factors or events by which poverty, once started, is likely to continue unless there is outside intervention.” The poor remain poor throughout their lives.
Many youth living in poverty are bright young adults full of potential yet they too are destined to work low paying jobs with little hope of a better future without outside intervention to break this cycle of poverty.
AkarakA (www.akaraka.org.sg) provides such intervention in the form of tertiary level scholarships for such youth. With a good education these young adults have the opportunity to gain decent employment. With a regular salary they are more able to help their entire family rise from poverty. Without it they are destined to repeat the cycle…..
Please help break the cycle of poverty by sponsoring me for my challenge – every dollar counts and every dollar will go to help these youths. Sponsor me $1 a day, $10 a day, $100 a day whatever amount you can afford…
Want to make it interesting and make me work harder? Agree to sponsor me based on my weekly earnings. For instance you will donate ten times my profits for the week…. Please contact me via the comment section on my GiveAsia sponsor page to make such a wager… 🙂
Tap into your corporate advertising/PR budget as ad space is also for sale. I will wear your company branded T-shirt – there is some ad space on the trisikad – contact me for more details.
Even if you cannot donate at the moment please help me publicize my fundraiser by sharing this page via Facebook.
A huge thank you goes to Lihuk Panaghiusa (www.lihuk.org) that does tremendous work within these communities for helping me with the logistics of this challenge.