In the Philippines
IAT has been implementing child sponsorship and community development projects in the Philippines since 1979. In order to further the work begun by IAT-Canada, IAT-Philippines was established in 1981. The two organizations have jointly:
- Developed a Children's Center and created a child sponsorship program;
- Educated and empowered thousands of children
- Built and staffed health clinics and schools in remote villages;
- Developed and operates a preschool to grade six program for indigent children;
- Initiated Montessori-based daycare programs in several remote villages;
- 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;
- Established demonstration farms, agro-forestry nurseries, irrigation and reforestation projects;
- Initiated back yard fish ponds and organic gardening projects;
- Established poultry, swine and water buffalo dispersal programs to generate income for poor families;
- Conducted more than one hundred leadership and empowerment training seminars and workshops for farmers, women and youth.
- Trained community leaders and supported local initiatives in community organization and project management;
- Initiated community-based health care projects;
- Organized income generating activities for women and out-of-school youth;
- Developed literacy programs;
- Assisted the long-oppressed people of Fuga Island to develop entrepreneurial skills and a village pharmacy.
- Facilitated peace settlements during tribal disputes
- 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.
- 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
In partnership with Heifer International, IATís 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 2017 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.
You may purchase a DVD of this unique presentation, with proceeds going toward support of IAT's Philippines' projects.
During the past 30 years, IAT has worked to increase Canadian awareness of global
issues through talks, slide and video presentations to service clubs and schools.
Many Canadian youth and adult volunteers have participated in IAT's Philippines program.
Several students from Canadian universities, as volunteers through co-op programs, have been involved in conducting research
on alternative healing practices, genealogy studies, historical background, cultural
practices as well as peace initiatives and conflict resolution in the northern
Philippines amongst the Kalinga tribes people.
IAT was instrumental in helping the Tsartlip First Nation women to establish a
Montessori-based day care facility on their reserve at Brentwood Bay, B.C. IAT volunteers
have assisted in several conferences for Indigenous Elders and youth.