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The Anothen Project

anóthen: Greek; ἄνωθεν - “from the beginning, from their origin”

A project intended to provide Education, Opportunity, and Hope for the Badjao

The Badjao found in Davao City, in particular the village at Isla Verde, face a multitude of problems. The lack of educational and income generating opportunities are the primary causes of their current impoverished lifestyles and living conditions. In addition, many of the Badjao have health issues resulting from poor sanitation and the lack of medical treatment.

Badjao girl playing in a dangerous environment at Isla Verde

There is a great need for Income generating facilities that can enhance the prospects of livelihood for the adult members of the community and educational facilities to meet the learning requirements of the children. However, with the over crowded conditions currently found at Isla Verde, it is almost impossible to address these needs.

The solution to this problem is to relocate a portion of the Badjao community to another site which can provide communal facilities which would include a learning center, livelihood center, and a medical clinic. These facilities would be housed in a single building surrounded by traditional Badjao houses where the families would dwell and share a common comfort room/bathing area.

Currently literacy rates among the Badjao in the Philippines are below 10%, and fewer than 20% of all Badjao children are enrolled in school. Our long-term commitment is to eventually provide access to school for all Badjao children, so that each child may have a chance to realize their educational goals and reach their full potential.

A medical clinic will need to be equipped with complete first aid and emergency treatment supplies for the safety assurance of the residents. Classes could also be held at the clinic to teach the Badjao proper hygiene and sanitation practices which will aid them in developing a more healthy and productive lifestyle.

Rehabilitated Badjao village in Zambaonga

The relocation site will be referred to as “Anothen”

The focus of this project is to cater to the immediate needs of the Badjao community in an effort to improve their cultural, physical, social, economic, and environmental conditions. This project aims to improve the lives of the Badjao by providing them with solutions that will address their current and future needs and help them in becoming more adapted and accepted citizens of Davao City.

The Anothen community will include the following:

  • 44 Houses (There will be 44 families with a total of 218 individuals initially benefiting from this project)

  • Learning Center

  • Livelihood facility

  • Medical clinic

  • Community comfort room

  • Recreational/playground facilities

We also intend to create a community that is environmentally responsible. We hope to provide solar lighting to each home as well as use solar generated electricity to support our community building which will house our learning and livelihood facilities. In addition, we hope to preserve the surrounding natural habitat by encouraging proper waste disposal as well as planting and maintaining mangrove trees or similar vegitation in an effort to preserve the coastal area and to attract more native wildlife.

Mangrove trees surrounding a Badjao village in Maluso, Basilan

We will design a community that will require more social interaction that will develop new economic options by transitioning it into a progressive community. Once established, the Anothen Badjao community would be a candidate for a cultural tourism site which would generate further interest from the public as well as additional income opportunities for the Badjao.

Handicrafts being produced by the Badjao in Maluso, Basilan

An Example of how Cultural Tourism can Benefit Tribal Peoples

Batwa Development Program

Batwa is an Indigenous tribe in Bwindi in Uganda, who were originally dwellers of the forest in the east Africa. They were known as dancers and story tellers and live by the support of the forests’ natural supplies such as plants and fruits. They transfer from one forest to another in search of fresh supplies of food. They live in temporary dwellings made out tree branches and leaves whuch they left which they left after few months in search for another forest.

The Batwa Experience was created by the displaced Batwa pygmies to educate their children and to share their amazing heritage and traditions with the world. Since 1992, the Batwa have been unable to live in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, their ancestors’ home. Yet they have not forgotten the old ways.

This program allows visitors to step back in time to see how the Batwa lived for millenia in the Bwindi, one of the most beautiful jungles on earth and home of the famous mountain gorillas. People can enjoy an incredible day hike in the rain forest with Batwa guides, see how the Batwa lived and hunted, learn about medicinal plants, and watch for animals and birds.

Visitors will hear ancient legends and traditional songs, watch energetic dances, and join in on a mock hunting party. They can even test their skills with a Batwa bow and arrow.

This same approach could be applied to the Badjao community as part of their own cultural preservation and restoration project to support their lifestyle, attract tourists, and eventually lift them from poverty.

What’s needed is a concerted effort across all sectors to improve opportunities and create better life chances for the Badjao in Davao City.

Site Plan for the Anothen Badjao Village

Footprint: Approximately 2,500 sq. Meters

Estimated project costs*: P850,000 – P1,000,000 ($17,000 - $20,000)

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