This year MAFA wanted to highlight education, especially in the Philippines through this year’s philanthropy: Salupongan International. This non-profit organization is dedicated to "the unity and empowerment of marginalized indigenous, Moro and rural communities in Southern Philippines. We combine social services, campaign advocacy, and local and global support to help meet the basic needs and human rights of the respective communities we serve." MAFA held a roundtable discussion in honor of the philanthropy and Filipinx American History Month to talk about the current climate in the Philippines.
Members from the MAFAsphere joined us in the conversation to talk about Martial Law in the Philippines and its effects on marginalized people within Mindanao. Under President Duetuerte, he has declared a State of Martial law which suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Whole of Mindanao. Indigenous People of Lumad and Moro have been greatly effective from the attacks on their land and the drug war. This leaves many children and people without basic necessities.
While facilitating this conversation, I wanted to talk about basic human rights and global support. Through this conversation, we navigated our experiences & understandings of the Philippines to discuss why education is a basic human right. By looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I wanted to see other’s perspectives of physical needs, security, the importance of effective relationships, self-esteem needs, and self-actualization. Delving into each category, having land closely relates to having a safe place, a home. With the economic zones happening in Mindanao, many Indigenous people lose a sense of need and security in what they call home. Many do not know what to do with these sanctions and the destruction of ancestral lands. Our participants discussed Filipinx American Diaspora that we feel to gain an understanding of what people in the Philippines feel. Diaspora is an involuntary mass dispersion of populations from indigenous territories. Being Filipinx American, we lose a sense of identity without having a sense of national origin, a homeland. For many of us, the Philippines and its many provinces are unfamiliar to us. It is hard to relate to their experiences, but through family and education, we gain a taste of our identity.
As MAFA mission statement says we exist to promote unity and cooperation amongst Filipino and Filipino Americans around the Midwest by promoting Filipino culture and Asian American awareness. This year MAFA wants to promote global support to help our members understand our roots by highlighting the disadvantage. By having these conversations, we become more aware of our surroundings & promote conversations of the many facets of our identity.
Education is a basic human right because it gives an opportunity. We want to support Salupong International's vision of "a future where local and global communities unite in solidarity to serve the interests and needs of marginalized people through the empowerment of grassroots communities around the world for social justice, food security and ecological justice, peace and human rights, human dignity, genuine democracy and freedom from exploitation." READ (Right to Education And Dignity), BRIDGE (Bringing Relief to the Internally Displaced Equitably), community development projects and solidarity exchanges are programs done by Salupongan International. To read more about what the organization does: