The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is Aug. 9, and we thought it was fitting to hear from a few sponsored youth from the Dumagat tribe, an indigenous community in the Philippines, about their heritage and hopes for the future.
Marimar, 19, sponsored youth
The meaning of the indigenous experience is to widen our culture through our way of life and traditions.
With the help of non-governmental organizations like Unbound, the title to own our land has been granted to us by the local government of Rodriguez, Rizal. Read more about the Dumagats receiving the title to their land.
For me, as a Dumagat youth of today’s generation, it is so great to be part of this tribe. I can be an instrument to sustain our culture and tradition.
Before I joined this organization [Unbound], I felt like there was something missing in my life, most especially in school. But when Unbound came, they had an important role in our lives. They gave me school supplies that I can use for my studies, and they even helped my family.
Mylene, 23, sponsored youth
I can compare my life to a rough road — hard to cross but there will always be hope at the end. Sometimes you’ll go right, sometimes you’ll go left and you even might fall down, but you can stand up and continue to journey and be where you want to be.
What I like the most is when I was able to discover Unbound, they helped me a lot. When the scholarship program came in my life, I was given a hope to continue overcoming my challenges.
Jenina, 18, sponsored youth
The indigenous knowledge honed my skills to be stronger so that I could be anything I would like to be. It opened my eyes to who I really am. This inheritance of being a Dumagat, I am so proud to be part of this tribe and to be a youth that someday will continue protecting our race.
As a Dumagat youth, I’ve experienced so many challenges — my skills being compared to other people’s, being told that I can’t finish my studies because I belong to a poor community and that I am just a poor lady with no ambitions in life, being judged by my physical appearance and going to school with barely enough money. … I experienced all of these things in and out of my community. But these challenges have been my inspiration to pursue what I started and will be my key to persevere more in life.