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Back to stories from the field Dubai Cares’ RAISE program Allows Big Dreams for Little Girls in the Philippines

Dubai Cares’ RAISE program Allows Big Dreams for Little Girls in the Philippines

The Philippines faces high rates of early child-bearing and pregnancy that undermine the chances of achieving quality education. According to the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), one in ten Filipino women aged 15-19 have begun childbearing. In order to address the numerous adversities of early child pregnancy on children’s education, Dubai Cares has launched the Real Assets through Improved Skills and Education for Adolescent Girls (RAISE) program to ensure that these girls find their way back to school.

“I will do anything for my children”, says Lolita, mother of Rosa, a nineteen-year old girl who became pregnant at the age of seventeen. According to the Provincial Population Office of Masbate, teenage pregnancy rates in Masbate are rising and teen moms are either not in or have dropped out of school. Lolita was scared for her daughter Rosa, who stopped attending school following her early pregnancy. Living in poor housing conditions with an abusive boyfriend along with little knowledge of child-rearing, Rosa also faced health problems during this difficult time. Her mother says, “Even if I don’t buy new clothes or shoes for myself, I make sure to first provide for all my children’s needs. We know that we can give them what they need to finish their education”.

Dubai Cares has partnered with Plan International to implement the Real Assets through Improved Skills and Education for Adolescent Girls (RAISE) program, which provides learners with an alternative to regular classes that enables youth and adult learners to complete their education despite personal or family constraints and regardless of distance.

Lolita, mother of Rosa, learned about the RAISE program from one of the secondary school teachers in their village. She eagerly returned home and told her husband everything that she learned about the program and asked him to help convince Rosa to go back to school thorugh the program. “With determination, my daughter Rosa continued her schooling and I took care of her 9-month old daughter when she was in school. Now with this program, I am assured that my dream for her and for my other children will be fulfilled,” Lolita said. Rosa completed Grade 10 in March 2016 and is now continuing onto senior high school.

Speaking on her Open High School Program experience, Rosa said: “I dream of becoming a fashion designer and I have big dreams for my little girl too, just like my mother has for me.”

‘Real Assets through Improved Skills and Education for Adolescent Girls’ (RAISE) program in the Philippines aims to support adolescent girls and boys from poor rural households who have dropped out of school or are at-risk of dropping out in two of the country’s poorest provinces – Masbate and North Samar. As part of this program, a dual approach was adopted to promote the transformative aspects of education through the involvement of families, communities and governmental stakeholders in all educational interventions to ensure that the needs of both girls and boys are equally met. The program also implemented specific empowerment interventions that reduce barriers to education and develop personal and social assets needed to empower marginalized rural girls to realize their full potential.