life on the dumpsite
  • life on the dumpsite
  • growing up on dumpsite
  • this is not the way
  • Umapad Dumpsite

For the past 5 months have been away from everything that is familiar and dear to me and have been living in Cebu, Philippines.

I am here on a fellowship programme organised by the Dekeyser and Friends Foundation that ends this month end. We are building a community centre for a village that will rehouse 50 scavenger families living in dumpsites mainly the Umapad dumpsite in Mandaue City. There are over 250 families at the moment living in the dumpsite and families have an average of between 5 to 9 children.

You would think 50 families is too small, people MUST be scrambling to get out of the dumpsite, but unfortunately i learned this is far from the truth. The families refuse to leave the dumpsites and choose to live there as scavenging is the only life they know. And although most of the money they earn goes into buying medical supplies, they do not take that into consideration.

The organisation we are working with JPIC - have had to convince these 50 families to move and it has taken them around 3 years to do so.

I have never, ever seen such filth in my life. Although the Philippines has a population of up to 95 million people and Malawi has only 12.6 million people, 1/3 of my tiny country is covered by water leaving 2/3 land but still the garbage we produce i think is being disposed properly but here dumpsites are as high as 10 to 15 metres - there are hills of garbage and it seems no one seems to care. Yes there are NGO's trying to help in change but there is not much visible change seen.

I will be going home with mixed feelings thats for sure, but i still have hope and believe that at least i have been the first step in helping one of those 50 families to move out of the dumpsite and hope their children's lives will fair better than theirs have.


Love what you are doing my friend, it is really beautiful to touch lives and you are touching it the best way. Loads of love to you. I really do not know what we will do to the garbage in Lagos too, the more the government work, the more our people refuse to change. Hmmnnn, I appreciate good initiative nad this is a good one!

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre, 713 Road, A Close, Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Dear Rosebill,

I remember 1992, my first visit to Philippines, a beautiful country. I was shocked to see the kids, families living on the garbage. I was speechless, yes, the dumpsites where huge, like mountains and smoke rises from the piles. I remember the experience as “smoky mountains”…

This is good work and you are part of it. Congratulation!

a friend Amei :-)

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Thank you my new friends for the encouraging responses. And Amei see what I mean when nothing seems to change that much - you came in 1992 I was only 8 years old! Im 26 years old and I myself have a daughter who will be turning 8 years in November this year if things keep going as they are corrupt politicians and people not caring for each other and the poverty gap keeps increasing, im sure if my daughter decides to tour the village we are helping when SHE is 26 years it will still be the same. More voices - more change please!!!

Rosebill Satha Chairperson Self Advancement for Youth in Malawi (SAYOM) P O Box 30621, LILONGWE, Malawi

Dear Rose,

I am so happy that you have had that experience cause I can see that it will strengthen you since you are a dedicated woman who think of others. Thus a great experience in life especially when we talk of community development it means putting in the shoe of poor people no matter how smart one might be. I believe that when you come back to Malawi you will apply the same approaches to sensitize the community in our major cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe where some people as well as the youth are indulged themselves in scavenging. Congratulations that you represented our country Malawi in doing this and I am sure that you put us on the map behavior wise as well as the passion with the poor. I am happy with you cause it wasn't an easy to make decision of leaving your luxurious job from the air company you were working with and choose to live in the garbage

You know its really good to work with the poor and try to bring change to them, Sometimes these people fail to understand us, and they just do things to please us but we really need to love them cause from the love we are showing they learn something



Hi January While its been a hardship being away from family this fellowship has been inspiring, motivating and rewarding and I will definitely continue the initiative to help my community and others surrounding back home. Keep up the good work too! Tsiku labwino Rosebill

Rosebill Satha Chairperson Self Advancement for Youth in Malawi (SAYOM) P O Box 30621, LILONGWE, Malawi

can you brief me much on dekeyser and how I can participate in these activities whether outside or in our country. But I am 34. I have liked the approach and I can also encourage many youth to take part

Hi you can read more about Dekeyser and Friends activities on their website but the projects they offer caters to young people aged between 18 - 30 years. They will be introducing new projects in the coming months but nothing new is on the website at the moment. If you check on the World section on the website, you can see all the documentation i have made about this project via diary, video and pictures but also documentation of the other fellows views as well as no one rarely sees the things the same way always.

Rosebill Satha Chairperson Self Advancement for Youth in Malawi (SAYOM) P O Box 30621, LILONGWE, Malawi