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Education - Key to RP Native Peoples' Survival
The Santa Cruz Mission Schools, Inc.
Tribal Peoples of South Cotabato and their unique cultural heritage face onslaught of destructive mining, logging and lack of school sponsors
By Edwin C. Mercurio
In the remote hinterlands and mountains of the Southern Philippines live some of the world’s marginalized and poorest people-The South Cotabato “Lumads” (People of the Earth).
For several centuries, even before the coming of British, Spanish and American colonizers, these indigenous peoples, namely the T’boli, B’laan, Manobo, Ubo, Kalagan and Maguindanaons have maintained a rich cultural heritage, customs and traditions now endangered and facing the threat of extinction. Educated members of the tribes thru the Santa Cruz Mission Schools, Inc. (SCM SI) are working hard to save their ancestral lands, their unique cultural heritage and their children’s future.
The Santa Cruz Mission Schools, Inc.
Santa Cruz Mission Schools, Inc. is a unique group of lay missionaries, educated T'boli teachers and professionals coming from South Cotabato and other parts of the Philippines and tribal people. They have committed themselves to help the tribal people protect their ancient cultural values, while providing them with the basic tools needed to face the challenges of the modern world.
For over fifty years, the Santa Cruz Mission has provided comprehensive education, health care and training in socio-economic development.
SCMSI has six community centre schools, two high schools and a college in the area serving these tribal peoples in the Province of South Cotabato and Sarangani.
The goal of the Santa Cruz Mission is to assist tribal peoples through comprehensive human development while preserving their unique culture.
Santa Cruz Mission School’s,Inc. Child Development Program is a major component of the school’s work. Children learn to read and write in their native languages as well as in Filipino and English. The curriculum includes science, communication skills, arithmetic as well as home industries for self employment and integration of indigenous knowledge and skills in school curriculum.
There are six accredited Elementary Schools, two high schools and a college which serve the educational needs of the tribal community of South Cotabato.
The College offers a unique course in Community Development. The students receive comprehensive training in health, community organization, education and agriculture. The challenges in their community are presented as practical problems to solve.
The University Scholarship program is designed for students who are studying at the state colleges and other private universities to help parents supplement their students’ allowances, books and other school fees. This program is offered to students who wish to take other courses in their field of interest. The Santa Cruz Mission Schools, Inc. depends on its sponsorship program to continue educating the tribal children. The sponsor’s donation cover’s the cost of tuition, food and health care service for one child.
The Santa Cruz Mission Schools, Inc. invites people to join the sponsorship program that will give deserving students the chance to finish school and offer hope of survival and of more educated people that will continue to provide sevice to their community.
T'boli School President Maria Gandam said, "When you decide to sponsor a child, the office in Lake Sebu will send you the child's biodata. You can correspond with your sponsored child and share stories of your lives and families. They will write to you, and their teachers will send progress reports, An acknowledgement letter with an official receipt of your donation will be sent to you.
For sponsorship Information write to Maria Gandam, Santa Cruz Mission Schools, Inc. (SCMSI) School President, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines 9512.
For North American sponsors please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the Sta. Cruz Mission Schools, Inc., group tours or to assist interested sponsors