A vicar’s daughter from County Durham is being supported by churches across the North East after setting up a charity to help children living in a slum area of the Philippines.
Naomi Tomlinson is the co-founder of a charity which works to help street children in the Philippines‘ capital Manila, a task she started as a 17-year-old because she was bored while training to be a chef.
Naomi, now 22, went to Manila to help out a charity there, working to help young people in slum areas, and the experience transformed her life.
She said: “I was brought up helping others and training to be a chef was not doing it any more for me. I was not helping others and it was not calling me.
“When I went to the Philippines that first time I visited the street children and we met a family and the mother asked me to hold her six-week-old baby. As I held the baby I looked round and saw the life that lay ahead for the baby, drugs, poverty, and for me it was a key moment.”
She now runs a drop-in centre in the Payatas, an area the size of a small city that is home to thousands of impoverished Filipino families. Most of the children work in the garbage industry, often from the early hours of the morning, scavenging for survival.
Naomi works seven days a week helping improve their lives and regards the dumps as home and the street children as her life for the foreseeable future.
Her father is the Rev David Tomlinson, who is vicar of St John’s, in Shildon, and the Durham Diocese has supported her in the creation of the Triple E charity to help the street children.
David is the secretary of the charity, which is now known as Fairplay for All, and includes a football scheme and a drop-in centre based in a derelict building that Naomi and her fellow workers refurbished it, and which has become a focal point for 170 plus children every day.
Naomi is the cirector of the charity, which she co-founded with Roy Moore, its Executive Director, who began its football schemes.
Employing five staff, the charity offers lessons in English, maths and science, nutrition, personal hygiene and behaviour.
It also provides vegetarian food and has opened a small health food shop, has a library and study area and an urban garden.
Ray Moore, the charity’s co-director, runs football courses for boys and girls, broadening horizons physically and socially, and next year they’ll be sending a team to the Street Child World Championship, in Brazil.
Churches of all denominations in County Durham have supported the initiative, including raising funds and providing money collected at funerals as well as supplying volunteers to do work in Payatas.
Information on the charity can be obtained from the Rev Tomlinson at St John’s Vicarage, 1A Burnie Gardens, Shildon, County Durham, DL4 1ND or at www.triplee.org .