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New Year Baby Gives Hope

Under the Magallanes Interchange Bridge, Makati City, Philippines

Shiela Ragas is 22 years old and lives with her husband and three children under the Magallanes Interchange Bridge just outside of Makati City. Living under the bridge is unsafe. It is highly polluted with highway fumes and there are rail road tracks just 15 feet away where her kids play.

Her husband Jerwin, Sr, is a professional barker, a person who yells the destination of the public utility vehicle, and earns enough income to provide one meal a day for his family. They have a 1 month old baby, Jerwin, Jr.; a 5 year old, Sherwin; and a 3 year old, John Carlo.

This family has been living under the bridge for almost 6 years and are having difficulty obtaining a permanent residence because they do not have enough money and lack the legal documents the government requires. It is illegal to live under the bridge, and their belongings are periodically confiscated by the authorities. Her one month old still has the clothes issued by the government hospital where she was born since there are no other clothes for the baby.

Yet, she has positive attitude because her family is together and they get to eat at least one meal daily. But she worries about her children’s future. Her dream is to have a roof over her head, that her kids will be healthy and safe, and that they can all eat at least twice a day.

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