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The Katutubo Elementary School Project - Love in Action

By Bro. Nelson Cabusas

Technical Support Coordinator of LIA NSW

The Katutubo Project started two years ago by a chance viewing of a video feature on YouTube showing three brothers building a home for a Katutubo family living in the mountains of Camarines Norte. The video also showed their living conditions and their everyday struggle to carve out a living.

At that time, it was suggested to find these Katutubo tribes and see what help can be extended to them. Further research has led us to the Facebook page of the Katutubo Elementary School in Paracale, Camarines Norte. They were looking for help in maintaining quality education, feeding programs and attendance in school. The school is solely dedicated to educating the Katutubo community who has no access to education and has been neglected for many generations.

The school is in the mountains of Paracale and is about 20 kilometres from the nearest town. The tribes live even further up the mountain, with the children and their parents needing to walk between four to 10 km each day to get to school. The building itself and the land around it was a donation from a private citizen.

It is through the dedication and persistence of Mr. Allan Terrazula, Head teacher, to provide education to this Katutubo community that eventually led to the Philippines’ Department of Education to approve and grant the authority to offer education from kindergarten to Grade 6 level in 2021. Mr. Terrazula involved the community in getting the building up to standard and even built the tables and other amenities by himself.

In May 2023, there was a face-to-face meeting between Mr. Terrazula and LIA Coordinator, Bro. Nelson Cabusas, to find out what help can be given to the school and to the whole community. In that meeting, the immediate assistance they needed was to sustain the feeding program that the school conducts every day for the children and their parents, to encourage them to attend school.  When the children are hungry and there is nothing to eat at home, they do not attend school because of the distance they have to walk to get there.

Another challenge they face is that during extreme heat or heavy rain they just stay home. The teachers, to keep the children and parents involved and not to lose the desire to learn, do home visits and teaching, even if they themselves are poorly paid.

Assistance in the feeding program and a means of transport to shuttle the children to and from school were identified as the things they need most help with. It was also observed on that visit that there are no proper facilities for toilets, cooking and eating areas.

In November 2023, the LIA-NSW in consultation with the CFCA NSW elders passed through a motion that the Katutubo project be the NSW State project for 2024. The project is composed of giving assistance to the feeding program, provision of a school van and construction of a service building that will house a boys’ and girls’ toilet, kitchen, and dining area. The proposed budget for the project is A$45,000.00.

To date, LIA-NSW has remitted A$2,000 to assist in the feeding program, sent over eight big boxes of clothing, hygiene items, educational materials, toys, and non-perishable food items. In May 2024, Bro. Armand Andaya has personally paid for the deposit of a L300 van to the Mitsubishi dealership in the Philippines. It is our fervent hope that we will get the full funding needed by end of June 2024, so we can deliver the van to the Katutubo school by July.

We are truly grateful for the continued generous support of the CFCA community, family, and friends in all the fundraisers that LIA-NSW has initiated to fund the many projects it embraced. Praise be to God!

Proverbs 19:17: “He who shows compassion to the poor lends to the Lord, who will repay his good deed.”

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