A helping hand for children

Thanks to the Italian Embassy in Manila, a photographer from Brescia (Italy) travelling to the Philippines for work has got the chance to meet Father Giovanni, a Canossian missionary. Father Giovanni has been since 20 years the head of one of the poorest communities in the world: Tondo.
That is how a deep friendship between Father Giovanni and the photographer’s family was started, and a first sponsorship to a filipino child began.

We started helping the NPO “Una mano aiuta l’altra”, that supports Father Giovanni, becoming their branch in Brescia.

Many supporters and donors helped us. Among them, we like to remember Beppe Severgnini, a famous columnist of Corriere della Sera.
That is why, at the end of 2008 we decided to give our non-profit organisation a new name that we feel closer to our mission: UNA MANO PER I BAMBINI ONLUS (A HELPING HAND FOR CHILDREN).

Always very active in the Philippines, now the NPO supports several projects also in other Asian countries (Myanmar and Cambodia) and Africa (Uganda).

The cooperation with the other Italian organizations supporting Father Giovanni is still very strict. All our inititatives are coordinated with the NPO from Arzignano (Vicenza) and Paderno Dugnano (Milan) as well as the Canossian Missionaries from Verona.

Tondo, Manila

The School of Joy is based in Tondo, Manila (Philippines), close to Smokey Mountain, the biggest open air dump formed by more than 2 millions tons of garbage. There are about 30,000 people living close to it; they sustain themselves collecting garbage.

What is the School of Joy?

In 2008, Father Giovanni Gentilin called for our help to realize a nursery school for the poorest children in Tondo: “The smallest ones, those that I see roaming around the garbage, naked and sick.”

He wishes to create a special school, able to help these children to recover their childhood. A place where to play, study, eat and be treated.
That is how our small nursery school started: the School of Joy, under the aegis of Canossa Foundation.

Information about the school
The School of Joy is now attended by 60 children about 4/5 years old. The school lasts 2 years. In this period children must learn the basics of English language.
The school is formed by two big containers/buildings and by  a brick house in which a kitchen and a canteen are located. There are toilets, a courtyard with a playground and the only garden in the slums!

How you can help

The School of Joy is a very challenging project, both for its location (near Smokey Mountain) and for the difficult situation of the children coming from the poorest areas (Aroma and Happyland).

The financial commitment for the sponsorship is 250,00 € per year and includes:
- education (with local staff);
- nutrition (3 meals per day);
- medical care (all children are undernourished and many suffer from tuberculosis);
- school uniforms (they are compulsory in the Philippines; we provide 4 uniforms to each student because they often are their only clothes);
- extracurricular activities (school trips out of Manila at least twice a year).

If you wish to support a child, send an email to
Matchings are made each year between March and June. During the year, you will receive two updates about the child we will match to you (letters and report cards).
Sometimes families leave Tondo. After a period of absence, the school takes care of replacing the student.

The sponsor will then support a new child (there is always a long waiting list of children that aim to enter the school). The financial commitment will not change.
Even if sponsorships are fundamental, the actual costs for the students are very high. Our NPO sustains the difference.

What is the Health Paediatric Centre?

The Health Paediatric Centre is a project that aims to provide health care to the children of the community of Mobye, Shan State, in Myanmar (Burma). The project has been made possible thanks to the support of AVSI Foundation. The initiative started in March 2010 and is aimed at supporting the needs of the Mobye Parish community and grant access to free health care for children (and families) of the community. The nearest hospital is several miles away and cannot be reached on foot. Many families lack the means of transportation to reach there and, above all, cannot afford to pay for treatment.


The project helps about 1800 children, students of the nursery and primary schools based in the Pekhon dioceses. On December 7th 2010, in the delivery room set up by Una mano per i bambini, the first baby girl came into the world! This project has been really successful: many children constantly pass through the clinic and many families have moved into the area next to it. Free treatment for adults are more and more frequent.

Information about the project

1,800 minors attend 16 public and private schools in the area. Una mano per i bambini already supports 120 of these students (project “Seven Teachers”). 80% of these children come from farmers' families that live several miles from the villages. A very high percentage suffer from diseases like malaria or tuberculosis; all children show signs of being undernourished. None of them formerly received health care.

How you can help

Sponsoring the Health Paediatric Centre means improving the health conditions of the community of Pekhon, trying to improve their physical conditions and defeat the diseases that especially infect the weakest and most vulnerable people: children. If you wish to support this project, send an email to

Contact Info

  • -E-mail
  • -Address
  • Una mano per i bambini Onlus
    c/o Istituto Madri Canossiane
    Via San Martino della Battaglia, 13
    25121 Brescia (Italy)