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There’s a garbage pile that dwarfs, easily, the small hills of Rome — and people live on top of it. Payatas is home to people who live on and from the refuse of the super-metropolis of Manila (population 12 million). Learn more about Payatas.

The Vincentian Fathers, the Daughters of Charity and the Vincent dePaul Society work to shift the possibilities for residents of Payatas. Key in these efforts is Fr. Norberto Carcellar, CM , executive director of Homeless People’s Federation Philippines. The Federation develops community savings and credit programs, purchases land, builds housing and sets up waste disposal and water distribution systems.

Fr Carcellar’s work has led to his being a a finalist for the 2007 Opus prize. At right: a 22 minute video about his work.

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“Entering Payatas is like spiraling into Dante’s Inferno. Before we even get onto the road leading to the garbage dump, we are assaulted by the unbelievable stench. I see young boys cover their faces with their T-shirts, guerilla style.
As we take the winding road down, I see evidence of their resourcefulness — the kids pile up cans in front of us so the tires of our trucks would crush them, making them easier to recycle. The children are all malnourished; eleven-year-olds look half their age. The first girl I meet hides her dirty fingernails as I point out her pretty ring. She found the ring in the garbage heap, and she tells me, once, she even found some money. “Who would throw away money?” she asks me. ”

“The Philippines Homeless People’s Federation with 20,000 member families is one of the distinctive and specific projects of the Vincentian Missionaries Social Development Foundation Inc. (VMSDFD). The main purpose of the federation is to help and guide families to save, negotiate secure land, form homeowner associations, identify sites on which they could build and search sources of loans and negotiate with the government with clearly costed proposals (Environment & Urbanization Vol. 13, no. 2, October 2001, p. 73). Way back in 1995, the Vincentians started the program in Payatas for the purpose of encouraging people to save and thus gain the capacity of building their own homes. The Payatas savings project, called Lupang Pangako Savings Association has saved around 15 million pesos for micro-enterprises and is preparing for land acquisition.”

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