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This year, my 2L year, I’m working in the Children’s Advocacy Clinic of my law school. Children’s advocacy, along with environmental law and health care law, are important areas of law for me. So the opportunity has arisen to do some international mission work and get a taste of children’s issues in a third world country.

In May 2009, I’ll be traveling with a group to the Philippines to provide relief to the indigent children of Mandaue City, Cebu and provide rehabilitative care and education to those forced to scavenge for survival in the dumps and through prostitution. Many of the Filipino children, some of them now orphaned, work by necessity in the fields, scavenging in garbage dumps, selling in the streets, and prostituting themselves. They are exposed to pesticides, dangerous chemicals, and get diseases from insects, parasites, and sexual contact. Many suffer from malnutrition.

The Philippine Department of Labor and Employment reports in every 10 Filipino families, three have children working to help feed the family. That means, of the 25 million children in the country, 4 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 work. It is impossible to count their total numbers, for they are unregistered, often invisible children. They grow up illiterate, abused, exploited and cannot break the cycle of poverty without intervention.

If you’re interested in learning more about our trip or even making a small contribution, visit our blog at http://firstumcjcpm.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-donate.html.