SERVE’s commitment to the Philippines commenced in 2003. SERVE are committed to the following projects:
The Badjao Tribe, Cebu
The Badjao Tribe are amongst the most abandoned and vulnerable people in the Philippines. As they are an indigenous tribe with their own culture, language and customs they are treated as second and third class citizens by the Philippine government.
Before & After
For centuries the main livelihood of the Badjao Tribe has been fishing, but due to larger commercial boats, increasing numbers of beach resorts and increased pollution, it is very difficult for the Badjao people to earn a decent living from this activity. As a result of this the Tribal Chief approached the Presentation Sisters and asked them to establish a formal education programme for children, so that they can develop the skills to survive in the modern world. There are 4000 members of the Badjao Tribe in Cebu.
The Presentation Sisters have been working with the Badjao Tribe in the area of informal and formal education. When the Presentation Sisters first began working with the Badjao Tribe they had an illiteracy rate of 96%. This intervention began with the Presentation Sisters establishing a crèche school in the Badjao community and providing Montessori teaching for children. Local women were trained to become Montessori teachers so as to increase local ownership of the project. This was the first experience the Badjao Tribe had with formal education and was vital in giving these children the social skills, self esteem and love of learning which is crucial for education. These children typically spend 2/3 years in the Early Education Centre before entering the public school system. In the past the Presentation Sisters closely monitored the child’s progress through education system and helped in remedial work.
In 2007, after many years of struggle with the government, the Presentation Sisters finally got the government to relocate the Tribe to a more secure and suitable area in Cebu City. The Badjao Tribe now have security of tenure in this reclaimed area. In order to continue its work in providing education for the Badjao Tribe the Presentation Sisters, with significant support from overseas donors, constructed a new school building in the Badjao Community. This building was completed in December 2007. The school has three classrooms and provides education to 240 students at all levels, from pre-school to secondary school level. There are five full time teachers. In 2008 the school welcomed its first Badjao teacher.
In the past SERVE volunteers have provided educational support and funding for essential educational equipment and the capacity building of local teachers so as to boost the educational and literacy performance of young Badjao children.
In the past number of years the Presentation Sisters secured the right to build permanent concrete homes for the Badjao community and in partnership with RAFI and SERVE, began that construction process. These homes provide a safer environment for families to grow and thrive. This healthier home environment has many positive knock-on effects including increased attendance at school. SERVE volunteers will contribute by facilitating music and artworkshops and youth leadership training programmes.
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If you are interested in financially supporting this project in the Philippines we would be very grateful of any donation you can make.