In the Philippines
One of our major accomplishments is that IAT-Philippines is now being managed and administered by a group or indigenous professionals, many of them educated through IAT's sponsorship program.
Hundreds of youth who have participated in the program have returned to improve conditions in their own villages. Many others have assumed leadership positions in local government or with non-governmental organizations in the Philippines.
For children and youth
Developed a Children's Center and created a child sponsorship program;
Educated and empowered thousands of children;
Developed and operates a preschool to grade six program for indigent children;
Provided academic education and leadership trainings for hundreds of youth;
Developed technical skills trainings for out-of-school, in partnership with the Consuelo Youth Foundation of the Philippines and the local Department of Trade;
Built and staffed health clinics and schools in remote villages
Initiated Montessori-based daycare programs in several remote villages
Established demonstration farms, agro-forestry nurseries, irrigation and reforestation projects
Organized income generating activities for women and out-of-school youth
Initiated community-based health care projects
Conducted more than one hundred leadership and empowerment training seminars and workshops for farmers, women and youth
Initiated back yard fish ponds and organic gardening projects
Established poultry, swine and water buffalo dispersal programs to generate income for poor families
Trained community leaders and supported local initiatives in community organization and project management
Assisted the long-oppressed people of Fuga Island to develop entrepreneurial skills and a village pharmacy
Developed literacy programs
Facilitated peace settlements during tribal disputes
In partnership with Heifer International, IAT’s Gift for Peace program has been a huge success in promoting peace between conflicting tribes in the northern Philippines. The concept being that a cow or pig is given to a family in one tribe under the condition that they give its first born to someone with whom they have had a conflict with in another tribe. The recipient of this gift animal then is committed to give its first offspring to someone with whom they have had a past or current conflict.
The current program has a target of 1,006 beneficiaries involving 25 villages in three municipalities. It is expected that by the end of 2021 two thousand participating families will have increased their annual income from 60,000 pesos to 160,000 or (1,500 to 4,000 Canadian dollars and that all participating families will have adopted improved animal well-being practices, conserved environmental resources and reduced disaster risks.
Upon request by the aboriginal elders, who see their culture rapidly changing, IAT has created a 35 minute documentary entitled, "The Spirit of Torcao" - a story of how a village got its name.
For centuries the tribal people of the northern Philippines lived close to nature and in harmony with the Earth. They planted rice in paddies terraced out of the steep hillsides, grew their sweet potatoes, and defended their ancestral lands. They respected and supported each other and cherished their children. Life was centered upon sharing the bounty nature provided.
Today these indigenous people scramble to adjust to the problems of the 21st century - problems of population explosion, cultural and racial unrest, decaying cities, crumbling social institutions, plant and animal extinction, global warming and massive destruction of the Earth's environment.
The elders are concerned for the future of the planet and its human and non-human inhabitants. They describe how colonization has affected their lives. Early missionaries from more-developed countries shamed them into covering their bodies - they were told that to be natural was 'evil' and a 'sin'. The colonizers called them heathens and savages.
In previous times they wore little clothing and all bathed together, naked, in the rivers. Abuse of women and children as well as adultery did not occur amongst their people and divorce was unknown. The elders point out the irony that in the 'developed' countries, where everyone wears clothes and considers themselves 'civilized', there is so much sexual abuse and family breakdown. They mention other paradoxes: how people in the 'civilized' world have multiplied their possessions but have reduced their values, have learned to make a good living but not a good life, have more knowledge but less common-sense, more medicine but less wellness, many specialists but more problems, environmental experts yet a polluted planet.
These people ask that humankind put aside its frenzied obsession with material accumulation and that we listen, with our souls, to the cries of a planet pleading for all of us to take a gentler approach to living on its surface.
With a small donation of $10, we can send you a digital copy of the Spirit of Torcao. Proceeds will help the film youth to continue documenting the cultures.