Dear Salupongan International Supporters,
We are pleased to be releasing our very first newsletter to you!
Salupongan International (SI) is a broad solidarity network of organizations, institutions and individuals dedicated to empowering the indigenous peoples’ right to self determination and defense of ancestral land through education and advocacy in Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
We currently support Salupongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Centers (STTICLC) and partner schools that serve over 3,000 indigenous scholars providing free quality education to the rural underserved areas throughout the countryside of Southern Mindanao. Dedicated teaching volunteers and staff travel by jeepney, bus, motorcycle then hike for hours, cross rivers, and climb mountain cliffs to reach these remote communities where many eager children long for the chance to receive their right to a basic education. Our SI network is committed to gathering international support to meet the educational and social needs of these children, schools and communities. We hope you will continue to stay updated and join our solidarity efforts in the future.
Salupongan means “unity” or “gathering” in the indigenous language of the Manobo, one of the 18 indigenous tribes of Mindanao. To learn more about Salupongan International and the network of schools and communities we support, you can find more information, videos, and photos on our website www.salupongan.org.
Daghang kaayong salamat sa tanan! (bisaya)
Thank you very much for everything!
We appreciate the in-kind and monetary contributions that we have been receiving these past few months. Your donations have gone a long way! From the individual donations to our event ‘To Mindanao With Love’ we have raised $4,000. With that we were able to build a new school in the province of Sarangani and provide care and resources for evacuees experiencing threats from militarization in Talaingod, Davao Del Norte. Thankfully, the evacuees were able to return to their homes recently.
With your continued support, we are able to build more schools, provide materials for the schools, fund volunteer teachers and support evacuees. Your donations support the future indigenous generations to come. Everything counts, please spread the word and visit salupongan.org/donate.
Special thanks to: Pam Tau Lee, Ben and Friends, Emory Douglas, Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP), People’s Educators Movement Bay Area (PEM), Longfellow Elementary School, De Anza College and all the organizations, artists, musicians and volunteers who have supported the launching of Salupongan International.
UPDATES FROM THE GROUND
As the 2014-2015 school year wraps up in the Philippines at the end of March, Salupongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Centers (STTICLC) and partner schools - Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) Academy and Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services (CLANS) schools throughout Mindanao have been celebrating the hard work and dedication of their students during numerous “move up” and graduation ceremonies.
Salupongan International (SI) sends a special thank you to all the parents, families, teachers, administration and community supporters for their love and commitment in serving the students and accomplishing another successful school year.
While the overall success has been inspiring there have also been many challenges faced in obtaining basic education in these remote rural communities in the countryside. Extractive industry projects such as large scale mining and logging, coupled with militarization and harassment threats have been prevalent in the communities where these schools are located. Many tribal leaders and community members continue to address the abuse and advocate on behalf of their communities bringing these issues to local, regional and national government bodies to end militarization, harassment and environmental plunder. SI stands in solidarity with these communities impacted and we are committed to advocate internationally alongside their efforts to put an end to these issues so the children can freely obtain their education peacefully.
Despite these challenges, the bayanihan spirit of unity is ever increasing and is exemplified in higher enrollment numbers for next school year and plans for expansion in building more permanent schools throughout Mindanao. SI is meeting the call from local communities in Mindanao and taking action to strengthen, sustain and realize their aspirations in obtaining their human right to education, livelihood and defense of their ancestral lands.
A warm-hearted congratulations to all of the scholars and graduates!
Click here to read about the experiences of Sammay Dizon and Hiyasmin Saturay during their recent trip to Lumad communities in Mindanao.
What's Happening This Month?
Salupongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Centers (STTICLC) and partner schools - Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) Academy and Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services (CLANS) schools continue to hold “move up” and graduation ceremonies through mid April.
Salupongan International is excited to host Sarah Taylor from Portland, a retired principal and experienced health worker with 30 years of service as a midwife, administrator and trainer. After years of private practice, she has been working in global maternal health in Ghana, Haiti, Vietnam and Cambodia. She works with Helping Babies Breathe an evidence-based educational program that teaches neonatal resuscitation techniques in resource-limited areas. Sarah will be integrating with local communities in Mindanao collaborating with health organizations and Salugpongan schools and communities.
At the end of April there will be an album launch in Davao City of music and songs recorded by Salugpongan students and community members. We will keep you posted on how you can listen and purchase this album soon.
Stay tuned for next month’s SI Newsletter coming out on May 1st, 2015 - International Worker’s Day. We are excited to continue to share more stories and experiences from the schools and communities from the ground.
Salupongan International Volunteer Team