The Mamanwa Tribe resides up in the mountains - one of the farthest communities to reach in Surigao Del Norte. The children here attend the local public school called Tiltilan Elementary School in Barangay Mahanub, Gigaquit, Surigao Del Norte. Because of the 9-kilometer distance from the nearest town proper, it has been a challenge for these families to gain access to basic needs, livelihood, and proper education.
Thankfully, Tiltilan Elementary School, though small as it is, is able to provide the children with some form of education even if the resources available to the faculty are far from enough. Currently, they are making use of 1 standard classroom divided into two sections: one for kindergarten to grade 2 students, and the other for grade 3 to grade 6 students. 40 children attend this school, with some of them tagging along their younger siblings in order to take care of them while their parents are out gathering food in the forest and mountain plains.
Malnutrition rates are high among these children and this has greatly affected their learning ability. Though they have already been beneficiaries of the Department of Education’s school-based feeding program (which lasted for 60 days), this wasn’t enough as each serving was shared among the siblings, also dividing the nutrients they are supposed to obtain.
The ongoing pandemic has only made circumstances worse as the children’s families have to work harder to find resources to survive. The school becomes their only source of hope. And through this project, the leaders of the community aim to be able to build another classroom to properly cater to the students and also conduct distribution of food (PHP 20/child for 60 days) and hygiene kits (PHP 5,000 in total).