A lot of you may know that in times of need Total has donated much of its time, labour, materials and money to a wide and varied causes. But there is one charity that you may not know much about that Total has been involved in for a number of years.

Upskills+ Foundation Inc (Upskills) was founded by CEO Jane Walker. Jane’s Story in itself is one that we all would consider to be unfair and at large unjust. But in spite of this, Jane managed to make her life into something that would see her working for Rupert Murdoch. At the age of 33 Jane started her own personal journey, which landed her working with the shanti town communities on the outskirts of metro Manila.

26 years on, and the charity Jane started continues on. Upskills is run by Jane and a handful of volunteers who work tirelessly to support the children and their families who live and work in squalid squatter areas in Tondo, Manila. These communities make a living by collecting the rubbish from the dump, recycle and then sell what they can to provide for their families. From the beginning Jane realised that the only way to break this cycle of squaller and poverty was to provide the children with an education and the tools that would enable them to drive their own future. Jane herself will tell you about the charity in her Ted Talk Angel of the Dump (click the image below to watch the Ted Talk).

Upskills+ Foundation Inc. applies an holistic approach by running integrated service programs for all beneficiaries. There are 4 main modules;

  • Education
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Social Intervention
  • Livelihood and Community Development Education

Currently the organisation has 70 regular parent volunteers and a school and corporate volunteering program for supporters. The parent volunteers receive a weekly food parcel valued at $40AUD a month. The organisation provides education and University opportunities for students with a price tag ranging from $500-$1,500AUD per year. To feed one person a meal a day for a year costs approximately $500AUD. School stationery supplies are provided to students where possible at a cost per pack of $63-90AUD per student.

The charity  also supports the men in the community who used to be dump pickers by employing them to make shoes for the community that sell for approx. $22AUD a pair and are made from recycled tyres collected from the dumps. This job provides them with more than well needed money, it gives them a sense of purpose, value and enables them to have a sustainable  future.

This video shows a frontline view of Upskills and some of the wonderful work they are doing.

You can learn more about this fabulous organisation here.

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