For many years the Badjao community has been shunned and told they ‘have no value’. Thanks to Sister Victoria, the children of this community now know they do.
The Badjao people have lived on the shores of Cebu City for generations. They eke out a living from diving and fishing. But the city’s expansion, pollution and marine restrictions are making their way of life increasingly difficult. Most Badjao adults are unable to read or write. So local people openly ignore them, or worse, abuse and actively discriminate against them. They’re refused treatment in hospitals and their children are often bullied at school:
‘The locals treat the Badjaos as if we are the dirtiest thing in the world, that we don’t belong in the community and we don’t have the right to live’.
Nobody should ever feel this way. But with your help, missionaries can bring dignity and hope to communities like the Badjaos. Please donate to help>>
Feet that bring good news
The Nano Nagle Child Care and Education Centre opened in 1997 when Sr Evelyn, an Irish missionary Sister, began to help the Badjao community. She also established a health centre as many were becoming sick and dying from treatable illnesses. A community development programme was set up in 2010 to empower the Badjao people to become more self-sufficient. With support in education, health and sanitation, they are gradually gaining confidence.
From the same missionary order, Sr Victoria has been with the project for nine years. She shares:
‘The inspiration and motivation that I have is to know, love, serve and to be with the people – especially those who are marginalised by society. Journeying with the Badjao tribe inspires me to continue the mission of Jesus.’
‘The Centre has a preschool exclusively for the Badjao tribe. It is also a home for elementary, secondary and college students, who can go after their classes for tutorials, assignments and research. It is a place where they feel welcomed, valued and loved.’
The Sisters show God’s love by example. They respect the Badjao people’s beliefs and culture, encouraging families to take pride in their community rituals and traditions. They are helping the whole community regain its dignity.
This Christmas, you can give the gift of dignity to the Badjao people. Please donate to our Appeal today>>
A living inspiration
Today, the Badjao people have 19 graduates working in the private and government sectors. They are a living inspiration for the next generation. Community and youth leaders help run programmes and activities, and help their community access basic social services.
Some graduates have returned to teach at the Centre. Teachers Edwina, Venerva and Paulita share:
‘If the Centre wasn’t there, children couldn’t go to school and families would not have the concept of education. The Badjaos in general would still be very afraid to stand up for our rights…The Centre is a place where all the Badjaos can go and talk to the Sisters and teachers about anything and everything. We are very lucky to have the Sisters because they not only look after the education of the children, but the total development of the person.’
Ten-year-old Sheena told us:
‘The Centre provides me with school supplies my parents cannot afford to buy… If the Centre wasn’t here, I might have to go with my friends to the streets to beg for food’.
Today, Tomorrow, Together.
There is so much to do, so much healing and rebuilding to bring to this inspiring community. And we can’t do it without you. But with your support, we can help Sr Victoria and so many other missionaries like her raise children and families out of poverty through education and love.
Sr Victoria is hopeful for the future:
‘The courage to move forward is stronger than ever. We’re still working on the recognition of the community as part of society, without discrimination or judgement. We will get
there. We always hold on to hope!’
This Christmas, please help more children know that they are valued and loved, so that they can look to the future with hope. Donate here>>