Hello everyone from all over the world! I am Christopher Hamera, Global Mission Fellow of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. I am serving in Davao, Philippines with Inpeace in Mindanao, but currently I am working with Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao for six months.
I am presenting to you a life changing story:
This story is the combination of many stories and gives a good picture of what social injustices marginalized people face here in Mindanao and the Philippines in general.
I am a Lumad, one of the indigenous people in the Philippines. I stay in the mountains. I face a lot of social injustices, such as killings, lack of access to quality, transformative education, human rights violations, lack of access to quality health tools, and an unsafe environment. I am being forced to get married, so that I can help my parents fight against the economic hardships they are going through. I have personally experienced a lot of ill treatment in my community. Am I not like any human being who is supposed to be cared for and supported?
It was a shock when my father and mother were shot dead when I was just 10 years old. Life quickly became very difficult. Our community was the home of paramilitaries. I stopped going to school because I had no one to support me or pay for school kits, food, clothes, or any of my other basic needs that would have given me a better life. Our land was confiscated by the militia, in the interest of mining minerals and all other precious natural resources.
I thank God for Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao (CTCSM). When I heard that the school had been opened, I thought it was a God-given opportunity for me to have quality, transformative education. CTCSM is an institution that is giving the Lumad access to safe and quality education, so that they can be reliable leaders who can contribute to the development of their own communities in the future, hence breaking all forms of social injustices.
I was enrolled in grade 7, which is the first year of junior high school, but now I am grade 10. I thank God because we live as a family at CTCSM. I am not required to pay a fee for tuition or accommodations, which I would be unable to afford. I thank God that, through the generous hands of people, I can see my bright dream coming to pass; my future is clear.
Thank you so much CTCSM and partners!! Salamat kaayo CTCSM and Partners!!
GMF, Class of 2015
Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao (InPeace)
Philippines, Asia and Pacific