A tiny population of Indigenous People of Rizal was gathered in the flat area of their tribe. Early morning, together with some guests to witness the official turn-over of the school.
Recalling the challenging endeavors the ITAS team has encountered, it is never tiring to remember the details of the struggle of the children in attending school every day. Specially, when we finally put an end to this adversity.
7,000, that’s the number of steps it takes for the children of Sitio Macantog to go down the mountain to reach their school. They do this twice a day, one going down and the other going up again, from Monday to Friday. No wonder not all of the children at their community go to school and the kids are pretty much stick thin. Going to school for them is physically challenging.
This is why ITAS built SATISKWELA, a two classroom school for them, to bring education closer to the kids. They as indigenous people are already part of a minority. They are often left behind in everything, from technology, to education, and even a better way of life. Everyone has a right to learn and these kids deserve a better chance at their future.
The event started excitingly when the humble, dark-skinned dumagats have put on their happy faces as they wondrously stared in the unfamiliar people and the activity they seemingly don’t completely understand. It was made even more memorable with the presence of numerous dumagat children in uniform who have shown their silent appreciation and talents.
This was indeed a memorable day both for ITAS and the people of Sitio Macantog. Aside from the unpredictable weather, that day was made more special by the attendance of two of our Executives, Elaine and Russell Wan, the Mayor of Tanay, Rizal, Hon. Mayor Rafael Tanjuatco, his Councilors, the Baranggay Officials & Local School District Officials of Tanay, Representative from the Department of Education for Indigenous Peoples, and volunteer employees.
The joint effort of ITAS workforce in raising funds for the construction of the school is all worth it but in the silence of our hearts, we know from within that nothing is more fulfilling than to be able to reach out to our underprivileged neighbors who have nothing but being left in the deepest part of the mountain silently shouting for some attention.
Through this gift of education, may we be able to help them step forward at least to understand and fight for their simple rights. This is ITAS’s legacy, one that will last a lifetime and maybe even more.