Most of the insurgency in the Philippines takes place in areas where indigenous people groups live. The majority of children who live in these tribal areas have no opportunity to gain an education because there are no schools for them to attend. Rebel groups see this lack of education as an opportunity to indoctrinate and recruit the children as soldiers in the fight against the Philippine government.
In 2012, Indigenous datus (chiefs) from the Manobo, Banwaon, and Talaandig tribes in Mindanao, asked PROJECT AK-47 to build schools to keep the rebels from recruiting their children, and to provide them with educational tools to build a future for their people.
We have already built two schools in the villages of Mintosing and Insibay - but our work will not be finished until every child has a school to attend. Our #SCHOOLSSAVE campaign aims to do just that.
As we finished the celebration and the first day of school in Mintosing, we asked their datu (chief) to say a few words in closing. He opened his mouth, stained red with beetle-nut, gave a toothless grin, and made a declaration in his Talaandig language that none of us ever expected to hear:
"I never thought that in my lifetime, I would live to see a real school in our forest. Today, I am overjoyed, because in my entire life, I never saw such a beautiful school ... it is so lovely because it belongs to us and to our children, and because it is in our village to build a future for our children and our people. In the years to come, no one will be able to deceive and hurt our people, as they always did in the past, or think that we are just dumb tribal people, because our children will be empowered with knowledge. These people of PROJECT AK-47 are the first people to ever keep their promise to us. They said that they would build us a school and help our children, and they did ... now, we will work with them to change our lives and make our home in the forest peaceful."
Help us make this a reality in two more villages this year! By becoming a FUNDRAISER or DONATING to our #SCHOOLSSAVE campaign, you'll be helping us hire teachers, and buy building materials, chalkboards, desks, and books.
Thank you, PROJECT AK-47 partners, for doing your part to help change history in the mountains of Mindanao!