Off the Streets – Off to School Scholarship Programis a core program of PIA to keep kids in school. Administered in partnership with the Phil-Asia Assistance Foundation, Off the Streets – Off to School provides scholarships annually to more than 1,000 children in Metro Manila. Students range in age from elementary school through college and their academic progress is monitored throughout the year. The students are also encouraged to correspond with the donors who support their education.
FAQ about the “Off the Streets-Off to School” Scholarship Program
What is the “Off the Streets-Off to School” Scholarship Program?
In 1986, PIA established a rehabilitation center for child prostitutes, aged 7 to 14, at the Caritas Manila compound. As a preventive measure, PIA started a scholarship fund with the help of the nuns at Caritas Manila to send street children to school, to take them away from the streets where they were being recruited by pimps, and to place them in schools where they belong. Since then, thousands of children have gone through the program. Many of them have graduated college and gotten jobs, and are now able to help support their families.
This scholarship program is open to poor children who want to go to school. It is not based on academic performance. We work with the different parishes in identifying the children who need the most help. Our social workers verify their families’ income levels by home visits. Parents are required to sign a contract stipulating that while the children are in school, they will attend school regularly and will not be on the streets selling wares. Once a month, the child and the parents are requested to go to the parish for value formation sessions. Only one child per family is accepted.
Aside from the satisfaction of helping a poor child go to school you will receive letters from the child during the year, reports from the social workers assigned to the child and copies of the child’s report cards. You may also write the child you sponsored and send gifts through PIA.
The Philippine school year starts in June and ends in March. If you sponsor a child today, your sponsorship will start in the next school year, June 2016. You will receive a folder containing the photo of the child you are sponsoring and a short bio on the child and his/her family on or before June 2016. Your first letter will arrive in July or August 2016.
Yes, you can if you renew your sponsorship on time and if the child continues with the program. Due to the nature of poverty, the families move often in search of jobs. Oftentimes, the families go back to the provinces to be able to better support their families. In this case, the child is dropped as the program does not extend to the provinces. Other instances when a child is dropped may include when the parents do not comply with the requirements of the program, i.e., spends the money on things other than the education of the child, forces the child to work in the streets, does not attend value formations sessions conducted by the parishes, and when the family’s income improves. If any of these should happen to the child you have sponsored, you will get another child.
Since 1986, PIA has supported over 55,000 children and disbursed over $4,227,000 in scholarships and grants.
• $253,262 distributed in 2017 for scholarships to keep kids in school
• 2,500 children supported in 2017
• partnerships with 13 NGOs based in the Philippines
• $41,300 in scholarships for low-income Bay Area students of Filipino heritage to pursue a college education supported by Wells Fargo Bank
• $48,000 disbursed to support Filipino American initiatives covering cultural immersion, gang prevention, mental health education and technology training for veterans.
"I encourage everyone to sponsor a child especially people my age. In this generation, we have all the opportunities to get a great education. We have all the resources in front of us. Knowing that kids in other countries don't have same opportunities, that makes me sad."
Alexa has been sponsoring a child since she was 11 - "I didn’t realize that for 40 cents a day, I could fund a kid’s education for an entire year. I saved my allowance, Christmas and birthday gifts so I could donate to PIA. I started getting letters from Nica mae Mayor of Zapote, Las Pinas. After reading her heartfelt thank you letters and updates on her progress in school, I realized how much a small donation could go a long way. I didn’t know at 11 years old, I could make a difference in someone’s life."
Ashley has been sponsoring a child since she was 8 - "Sponsoring a child is important to me because I am giving someone the opportunity to learn and to have a better future. Sponsoring a child makes me feel good because I know that I'm making a difference in someone's life. Thank you!"