TACLOBAN CITY – The Badjao residents in Isabel town were finally transferred to their new homes, over two weeks after the housing units were turned over by the donors to the municipal government.
The 49 housing units are located in sitio Bawud of Barangay Marvel and donated by IKIKO Foundation, a French nongovernment organization which is into preserving the environment.
Before the residents were transferred to their new houses, IKIKO Foundation, led by its founder Christophe Donat, and municipal officials together with the beneficiaries planted 100 mangrove seedlings around the new community to serve as natural barriers against strong and destructive waves.
Donat said that aside from transferring to their new houses, some of the Badjao members are also being taught basic education under the alternative learning system (ALS) of the Department of Education.
“Around 20 children and 10 adults are taking class under ALS. They will come every day to the class which will be handled by three ALS volunteer teachers from Isabel district to learn lessons under Indigenous People Education Program,” he said.
The foundation also plan to teach some women in the village to make furnitures and recycled products from plastics and umbrella trash fabrics.
“This is to help them learn other livelihood which they can use as source of income and help them stop begging,” Donat explained.
“Providing education and livelihood skills to Badjao residents will help them feel more comfortable; have the sense of belongingness with other people in the community and gradually address problem on discrimination and rejection the indigenous peoples experiences from the local populace,” he added.
The Badjao people have been living in Isabel since 1985 whose population has increased through the years.
The old homes of the Badjaos were destroyed by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in 2013.