believes that EDUCATION is the most effective way to tackle poverty faced by children and young people in the slums of Manila, Philippines MORE ABOUT YOUNG FOCUSDonate towards 2018 Christmas Family Food Package


YOUNG FOCUS gives underprivileged children and young people the chance to develop themselves intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually by providing education and supporting their personal growth.

YOUNG FOCUS believes working with the whole family is the key to enhancing the lives of children and future generations.

YOUNG FOCUS wants to see young people develop their (hidden) talents and gifts and, in doing so, escape the vicious circle of poverty.

Pre-school, elementary, high school and college education


Special education for school drop-outs and street youth


Nutrition and nutrition education to prevent and eliminate malnutrition


Education on family care and community development


...children and students enrolled in all our programs drop-outs and street youth in special education programs

...students in our regular sponsorship program

...children in our preschool

Explore the area and locate Young Focus' centers on the map

The ‘Smokey Mountain’ area in Tondo, Manila, is known for the dumping and recycling of garbage. Tens of thousands of adults and children are directly or indirectly dependent on the ‘recycling business’ around here and live in massive squatter communities.

Young Focus has 4 centers in the area – all programs are focused on education and personal development. Click on the place markers for more information.

Young Focus Child Care Center in Vitas Katuparan

Here Young Focus build a Child Care Center in 2014 with facilities to care for malnourished babies and toddlers (approx. 20 little ones) and a preschool (called Child Care PLUS) who are behind in their physical and psychological development. The goal is to prepare them for elementary school.

Vitas Katuparan is a ghetto-like housing project built in the 1980s to resettle families displaced by the Port Authority’s new container terminal. Ten of the project’s 27 buildings were allocated for socialized housing while the rest were sold on the open market. The buildings were inaugurated in 1990.

Paradise Heights, Permanent Housing

‘Permanent Housing’ consists of 21 buildings with 5 floors. Each floor has 24 units. Each unit has a ground floor of about 20 m2. The upper floor is about half the size of the bottom level. Most residents have rebuilt their units and extended that second level to cover their whole ground floor area.

The people from the original Smokey Mountain were originally supposed to move into their units in 1998, first living in the ‘Temporary Housing’ for 2 years after the closure of the Smokey Mountain ’1′ in 1996. However, the construction of ‘Permanent Housing’ took 8 years rather than 2. So, the former residents of Smokey Mountain ’1′ eventually moved into their units in the newly constructed high-rise buildings in 2004.

Aroma, Temporary Housing, Happy Land

‘Temporary Housing’ was build to house the people from the original dumpsite Smokey Mountain 1 for 2 years before moving into ‘Permanent Housing’. Unfortunately it took 8 years before they could actually move to ‘Permanent Housing’. The two storey structures of ‘Temporary Housing’ were open inside and families had to construct their own walls to have and form of privacy. There was only 1 bathroom per floor – to be shared by 50 families….
After the people from Smokey Mountain 1 moved out of ‘Temporary Housing’ in 2004, a new group of squatters moved in. The conditions there have really deteriorated since then; there is no maintenance, no repair work done. The paths and alleyways are filthy, the ‘barracks’ overcrowded. Right now approx. 7,000 people live in the area.

The old Smokey Mountain ||1||

The ‘original’ Smokey Mountain. Closed in 1996. People were moved to ‘Temporary Housing’ in 1996 and then to ‘Permanent Housing’ in 2004. Many families were relocated outside the city.

Around 3000 families used to live on the 50 year old dump, which was the site of a fishing village before. About 50 shacks are still present, and grass, trees, fruit trees and vegetables grow there now. It is a green niche in the middle of the urban chaos where the majority of people continue to depend on garbage collecting and charcoal burning.

Soon after garbage was dump on ‘Smokey Mountain 2’. The government closed ‘Smokey Mountain 2’ in 2014.

The old Smokey Mountain ||2||

‘Smokey Mountain 2’ was demolished by the local government in 2014. About 700 families used to live on top of the garbage dump here.

Although ‘Smokey Mountain 2’ is not a place anymore where people live, the garbage is still being dumped there in barges.
Young and old are allowed to go into these barges and scavenge for glass, metal, plastic etc for recycling. The whole Smokey Mountain area – as shown on this map – is in one way or the other depended on the recycling business. The garbage they collect is then sorted, cleaned and sold for recycling. Another means of income is making charcoal. The charcoal is sold at the local markets as a cheap form of fuel for cooking.
Although ‘Smokey Mountain 1’ and ‘Smokey Mountain 2’ have been closed, the area with its slums is still known as the Smokey Mountain area: ten thousands of poor families live in shacks and impoverished housing. Many of them came from the old garbage dumps and many have been added from the provinces in the last 20 years; thinking that the city of Manila would give them a better life.
The slum communities Young Focus works in are called Permanent Housing, Temporary Housing (Aroma), Happy Land and Vitas Katuparan.

Young Focus SANDIGAN Student Center

Young Focus SANDIGAN Student center was built in 2011. It is Young Focus main center with classrooms, a computer room for students, a library, recreation areas and offices. It’s address: 284 Dayao Street, Balut, Tondo, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Young Focus YoUNgLI Center

YoUNgLI stands for Young Unlimited. In this ‘hang out’ center Young Focus focusses on older street youth of the community who dropped out of school or have never been in school. This center is located right across the most devastated area of the community where many young people use solvent to suppress their hunger pangs and forget about their problems.

Young Focus Road10 Center

This building is our new preschool and learning center with meeting rooms for parents and elementary, high school and college students.

Stay up to date with Young Focus’ Facebook posts

Young Focus added 14 new photos — with Ryan Lachica Bilo and 9 others.

Staff celebration

And then it was the turn of the staff team to celebrate the 10 years anniversary of Young Focus in the Philippines… This was done in typical YF staff fashion: with much hilarity, as well as moments of serious appreciation and reflection. Our program included speeches, a fun raffle, performances, videos, and the presentation of several surprise (to the recipients!) recognition plaques.
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Staff celebration

And then it was the turn of the staff team to celebrate the 10 years anniversary of Young Focus in the Philippines… This was done in typical YF staff fashion: with much hilarity, as well as moments of serious appreciation and reflection. Our program included speeches, a fun raffle, performances, videos, and the presentation of several surprise (to the recipients!) recognition plaques.

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Contact us for more information!

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What students say about Young Focus

“Young Focus have served as a foundation in building my character. They have helped me develop my talents and knowledge to lead me to a bright future. Young Focus supports me to achieve my dreams. They are the reason why I can continue my studies.” – Gecler

Partner with in Young Focus’ vision for the children in the slums of Manila and donate to one of these programs!

With your donation more children will have an opportunity to access education! Read more about Young Focus’ education programs here.

For USD 360 / year...

… you provide education for an elementary or high school student!

Donate USD 10...

… that will purchase a schoolbag or a pair of new shoes for our students in elementary or high school at the beginning of the school year.

For USD 30 / month...

… you provide preschool education. The child also gets a healthy, nutritious meal!

Donate USD 40...

…and cover the costs for a bag of rice for our nutrition program! All children from the preschool and school drop-out programs receive a healthy lunch every day.