Breaking the Cycle

Based on 2008 data from the Commission on Higher Education in the Philippines:

Out of 100 Grade One pupils:

  • 66 finish grade six
  • 58 enroll in first-year high school
  • 43 finish high school
  • 23 enroll in college
  • 14 graduate from college

These numbers exemplify larger problems for the Philippines, as well as how these problems affect these children.

Poverty and inequality are significant problems in the Philippines. Combined together, they pose a serious threat to stability in the country.

In 2006, 32.9% of the population lived below the Philippines’ poverty threshold, subsisting on US $2 or less a day.

The Philippines has one of the highest levels of income inequality in Asia, with the poorest 2% of the population accounting for only 5% of total income of consumption.


One of the main causes of poverty is the lack of education.

In this economy, uneducated youth cannot compete with vocational graduates who have been trained with technological, literacy, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.

Low-salary jobs are more likely to be cut, putting the uneducated back on unemployment.

Low academic achievement is a strong indicator of low family income. Thus, the cycle of poverty continues.


Though these children must contend with schools that are not able to provide experienced teachers, books, computers, Internet access, manageable class sizes, the children face even larger challenges.

They feel they have no control over the nature and quality of their future. The stress of their environment limits their capacity to cope and makes them feel powerless.

Poor children face a higher risk of developing socio-emotional problems such as depression, low self-esteem, antisocial behavior, lack of initiative, and apathy.


They feel inadequate when faced with difficult challenges.  Self-doubt impedes their ability to learn, thus resulting to poor self-image.

Setting goals that are difficult but attainable makes success seem more accessible.

  • Self-regulation
  • Self-efficiency
  • Self-efficacy

These skills are critical for these kids to feel empowered and motivated.