Last month we thanked you for your swift and generous response in helping with the critical situation in Mindanao. Due to an armed conflict, hundreds of Tala-andig villagers were displaced from their homes and had to trek many miles simply to find a safe place for their families to settle. They were welcomed by the Manobo tribe in Tumalog – the central hub for the three tribes in this part of the region.
We are excited to let you know, the healing continues! Our local partner, the BAMATA tribal council, was able to offer land for all the displaced families to build their temporary shelters. With food, shelter, and medical needs met, attention was turned towards restoring the rhythms of daily life. This includes families working together to prepare the ground for crops and children returning to school.
We currently have 134 students enrolled for this school year in Tumalog. It is truly a miracle that classes started only two weeks later than normal! What a joy it is to see the children’s smiles beginning to return. The resiliency of their precious hearts never ceases to amaze us!
In addition, after a very long wait, Tumalog has finally been approved to open a public high school! This is another MAJOR milestone in the educational sector of our program. The closest high school is over 50 kilometers. Because of the limited resources and options for transportation, most of the tribal children end up getting married early or simply working on a farm, rather than pursuing a secondary education. This high school is a big step towards the ultimate dream – a college in the mountains! It would actually be the first in the entire country.
One of the beautiful reasons we focus on building deep relationships and investing in communities before, during and after crises, is so we can be around long enough for real change to occur. Through this long term commitment, we are able to better the odds of building peace and see the children reach their full potential.
Friends, we are well on our way to lasting change! Thank you for your continued thoughts and support. Without you, none of this would be possible!