Aside from clean water to drink, food is a primary need that we all need to have to survive. Being able to work and generate an income to buy necessities such as clothing, shelter, and education is also crucial.
For the members of the Dumagat tribe in Sitio Kabuoan and Quinao, they used to catch fish from nearby fishponds, which was their primary source of food as well as their income. But sadly, due to the shortage of fish in supply, the tribe had to resort to other sources of income that illegal logging generated for them. After the pond became empty, they used to sell planks of wood for food and other supplies, which wasn’t sustainable and was harmful to the environment.
That’s why #OALoveProjects has made it a priority to build three local fishponds to support the Dumagat tribe. Starting with Sitio Kabuoan, hoses were installed to draw water into the pond, Tilapia fingerlings would be brought in and caretakers—Tatay Tony, Nanay Ester and Ate Mercy—were assigned to keep watch of each pond. Tilapia was chosen as the fish to be cultivated in the ponds because they are easier to grow and they are resilient to changing weather conditions—summer and rainy seasons. Other than the pond at Sitio Kabuoan, the other two fish ponds were already dug up and are waiting for hoses to be installed into these ponds. After the completion of these fishponds, Tilapia fingerlings would also be brought in.
But even with caretakers assigned to care for the ponds, the Dumagat tribe practices a communal spirit—everyone shares with the catch so, no one goes hungry. This has been evident when Outsourcing Angel and TnB volunteers visited the Dumagat tribe in Sitio Quinao in May 2018 where they brought toys with them and the children shared with others who weren’t able to receive their own toys.
With the construction of the fish pond, the Dumagat tribe doesn’t have to resort to illegal logging and as a source of livelihood, the members of the tribe would become more independent instead of solely relying on donations. In addition, they have food to put on their table so, they wouldn’t have to depend on periodic feeding programs.
Having this livelihood program for the Dumagat tribe brings forth a message of hope for them and this has been made possible through the joint efforts of Outsourcing Angel and Lash Tribe. Within this year when the fishponds’ construction is completed, the members of the tribe can now begin to stand on their own two feet again.
- VA Writer: Anne Therese V. Samala
VA Position: General Virtual Assistant