The Badjao are a semi-nomadic tribe spread across the Southern Philippine archipelago and Eastern Malaysia. Dubbed “Sea Gypsies”, their traditional way of life revolves around fishing, diving for pearls and ocean edibles, and selling their catch in port towns for a small income. With disappearing fish stocks and the uncertainties of the market, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Badjao to sustain traditional ways of making a living.
The Badjao are very marginalized. They are rejected by Orthodox Muslim groups in the South, and have struggled to co-exist with the lowland Filipinos. Most of the population are landless and economically destitute, living over the sea in stilted homes. Their lives are dangerous and hard, their homes vulnerable to tropical storms and their children often malnourished and unhealthy.
This project is run from the heart of the Badjao village, at the invitation of the community. For the last 11 years, the project has been supporting and meeting the needs of the community.
CRY is proud to support the community centre’s feeding programme which provides food for 21 of the most malnourished children in the village. While the children are at the centre receiving meals, they are also taught important hygiene lessons, such as hand-washing and tooth-brushing. The centre is also provided a government education programme called ALS, where children who are unable to attend local schools can get basic education. In the words of the programme manager: “CRY’s regular sponsorship is safeguarding the health and nourishment of some of the poorest and most vulnerable children in the Philippines”
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