Several of my friends and I headed up to a remote sitio in Lake Sebu, the ancenstral domain of the T'boli and Ubo tribes in South Cotabato, during my recent visit to this scenic mountain town.
We are part of the group called Black Pencil Project, a grassroots volunteer based advocacy that tries (and is evidently succeeding) to make basic education more accessible to indigenous population in remote areas.
Tenous mountain view
One of BPP's supported community in Lake Sebu is a small school, also run by volunteer teachers, called S.I.K.A.T. (Silungan ng Katutubong Kaalaman at Tradisyon ng Tenuos). Located in the further up the mountains in Barangay T'konel, school has been successful despite very limited support from the local government.
One has to ride a habal-habal (motorcycle) on the way up to the mountains. The road is muddy and full of deep ruts, but already in "good condition" at that time as the locals have seen worst. We had to walk the part of the way as road conditions become too difficult to handle for the motorcycles.
Tenous, despite being remote, is a thriving community whose main livelihood is farming and rattan furniture making. There is a good number of primary school children there and SIKAT plays a central role in their basic education.
one of BPP's founders (Mon Corpuz)
Our visit is partly an ocular for the another one scheduled just before the classes opens in June of this year. We did a coloring activity and distributed crayons and some school supplies to the children.
Before June we will be back in Tenous, this time to bring everything the kids and the school will need for the the rest of the year. Part of this effort is a book drive aimed at collecting reference books and text books for the school children of SIKAT.
Larger version of the poster here.
If you are interested to know more of this advocacy, drop by http://www.blackpencilproject.org/. Its time to change the world, one pencil at a time.