Dozens of dirt-poor children in a Philippine mangrove village no longer have to swim to school, straining to hold their books above the water. And it’s thanks to money raised through Facebook to provide boats to the southern Philippines community. The children used to arrive to class with their clothes dripping wet when they could not hitch a ride on fishing boats. Blogger Jay Jaboneta said he learned of the children's plight—they had to swim and wade through about a mile of mostly chest-deep water and cross sandbars to reach school—last October and helped start fund-raising through his Facebook account.
Jaboneta raised enough money for one motorboat, named "New Hope." Two more boats were being built, and the charity group overseeing the donations also provided school bags, slippers, and blankets to the children. A bright-yellow, donated motorboat carried Layag-layag children today on their first day back to school in two months. But this poor Southeast Asian nation has many more problems with its educational system—congested classrooms, dilapidated buildings, and a huge number of dropouts due to poverty. (Read more Philippines stories.)