Cerise Santoro has spent much of her time as an English Language Fellow collaborating with Akyat- Nueva Vizcaya, a group formed by four faculty members of Saint Mary’s University to conduct educational outreach for the indigenous people of the Philippines.
The group’s most recent project led them to Amelong-Labeng for a weekend in April. The remote community and school is only accessible via a full day trekking route through the mountains, so it is rarely visited by guests, yet the Akyat-Nueva Vizcaya group regularly visits this marginalized community to assist with a variety of projects.
The April project focused on farming and basic gardening education to help the community start producing a source of living through sustainable gardening while decreasing reliance on harmful mining practices. The indigenous people of Amelong-Labeng received seeds and learned about gardening techniques for their new community crops.
After the two day event, Cerise was invited back to teach the indigenous children English at the local school during the next project: building a library to promote reading literacy for the indigenous people.