Wonder Kids: Fighting Poverty Through Education
At just 16 and 17 years of age, Margarita Te and Martin Alindogan are helping displaced and disadvantaged Filipino kids find their paths toward brighter futures.
The International School Manila students launched their non-profit organization, Save the Kids PH (STK), in 2016.
STK pushes forward the notion of learning as a tool to end the vicious cycle of poverty through its S.A.V.E. program.
The four-pronged approach explores various activities such as skills building, art therapy, values formation and other educational programs with a goal to build a better future for over 10,000 children.
Margarita Te and Martin Alindogan
Realizing that poverty is the main cause of problems plaguing society, Te and Alindogan originally took it upon themselves to start their own separate organizations.
After participating in a school-facilitated conference called Advocating For Change, Te’s passion was fueled to end human trafficking. She is currently completing an internship at the House of Representatives where she conducts research for the Interagency Council Against Trafficking. To bring awareness to the prevalent problem of human trafficking, she established the social media campaign Save the Girls PH.
Alindogan, on the other hand, decided to focus on sports, one of his passions, and use it to make an impact and give back to the community.
During outreach programs, he saw how much Filipinos value basketball. Using his experience in competing locally and overseas, Alindogan established Rebound.ph. He hopes to empower underprivileged children by supporting them and inspiring them through the basketball, to keep them from turning to drugs and gang activity.
Seeing their causes had common ground, Te and Alindogan decided to merge their organizations and combine their resources to create STK.
Today, the STK council is made up of 10 kids from seven schools. Te and Alindogan head the council. The other members are Enzo Violago-Tanjutco (Everest Academy) and Santi Violago-Tanjutco (Everest Academy), Joey Navarro (Assumption College), all representing Grade 9. Luis Chan (De La Salle Zobel), Manu Violago-Tanjtuco (Everest Academy), and Kendra Morris (Beacon Academy), Grade 8. Renzo Villavicencio-Lago and Rico Villavicencio-Lago (British School Manila), Grade 7.
When STK was founded in June 2016, Te and Alindogan focused on spreading awareness through social media. Seeing the chance to help more together, they expanded to several programs and rehabilitation activities.
“Margarita and Martin ensure that for every area they visit, they leave behind skills and the knowledge that can help empower kids in the future," says Trina Alindogan, Martin's proud mother. "It is heartwarming to see them show genuine interest for the welfare of others and to see them leave a positive mark in these children’s lives.”
Te and Alindogan work on their projects on weekends and over school vacations, so they don't interfere with their academic schedules. "The time they would normally spend going to the mall or watching TV at home, is channeled toward Save the Kids PH efforts,” says Trina Alindogan.
Te and Alindogan share their advice for other young people looking to start their organizations:
—If you have an inclination to help others, then you should really act on it. What you may think is a small contribution actually goes a much longer way.
—Funds can be of assistance, but even without them, we kids have the potential and capability to make a difference.
—Combining something you love to do with community service leaves you with valuable and truly meaningful experiences.
They are launching three new projects under Save the Kids PH for 2018: a library and a livelihood center for an Indigenous Peoples community in Pampanga, a livelihood center for a marginalized community in Rizal, and a livelihood center for a new relocation site of former urban illegal settlers in Tondo.