The Philippines is overflowing with rich culture even before colonization and native tribes used to flourish in our land. But did you know that these indigenous people have faced marginalization, exclusion, and discrimination not just during colonization, but even now in our modern society? These violations affect children the most, as they are the most vulnerable.
Indigenous peoples have retained much of their traditional, pre-colonial cultural practices, institutions and livelihoods. And with observation, it’s unmistakable that there is a wide disparity among different Indigenous groups in terms of social organization and cultural expression, and also in terms of the level of integration with other Filipinos.
There were many significant developments throughout the years though, including the 1987 Constitution and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, recognizing the individual rights of indigenous people such as the right to manage their ancestral lands and the rights to self-governance and empowerment.
Despite these, indigenous people continue to be vulnerable to land dispossession and violation of rights. This continuing exclusion and discrimination faced by indigenous people in our country has had a profoundly negative impact on indigenous children. These children suffer deprivation (such as poor education and health), as well as exposure to violence and abuse, which gravely violates children’s rights and welfare.
This is also one of Brighter Communities’ goals: to tap into the indigenous regions and empower children to learn and discover their potential through tech for good. As many charities and non-profit organizations focus on helping children as their CSR in general, we want indigenous children to feel included — that there are people who want to help and inspire them to shine bright.
UNICEF, Situation Analysis of Children in the Philippines, available at: https://www.unicef.org/philippines/media/976/file/Situation%20Analysis%20of%20Children%20in%20the%20Philippines%20-%20Full%20Report%20(unedited).pdf
International Workgroup for Indigenous Affairs, Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines, available at: http://www.iwgia.org/regions/asia/philippines.
Minority Rights Group, Philippines – Indigenous Peoples, available at http://minorityrights.org/minorities/indigenous-peoples-6/.