Having grown up in the Philippines, I have experienced living in poverty, but what I encountered when I went to visit the Tabing Dagat of Bacoor Cavite this past November was truly heartbreaking. The little girl photographed above is covered with open sores and she’s very sick. She lives in a house which has no doors, windows, furniture, plumbing or running water. A makeshift shanty. It serves as their home which they share with multiple other family members. There’s no bathroom, they do their necessities wherever they can. Unfortunately, this house is not the exception there. The reality is many children just like Gemma are sick and dying everyday. Impoverished Filipino families cannot afford healthcare or basic hygiene and sanitation facilities, and according to the barangay Captain (similar to a Mayor), four out of five children get sick without being able to see the doctor at all. The sheer force of of poverty I saw there is overwhelming and it will take me a few months to digest. You see I was lucky. After spending days of ducking in and out of shafts, walking muddy roads, surrounded by the smell of open sewers while visiting the impoverished area, I got to leave. They don’t. Those children will still be there waiting for a ray of hope. Individuals like you can help begin a chain reaction of hope and caring, with more and more people joining in and making a difference. More people need to be compassionate and understanding. It’s a very tough world out there or these children and life is the most precious gift. We need to save and protect these children.