The Tribal Children’s Literacy Program was started in response to the plight of the Mamanwa people. The Mamanwa are one of the few tribal groups in the Philippines who don’t look like the average brown-skinned Filipinos. They are officially classified as Negrito people who are dark-skinned , have tight curly hair and look very similar to the people of Africa, and the aborigines of Australia and Papua New Guinea. The Mamanwa are a nomadic people, traditionally hunters and gathers moving from place to place in the rain forests of NE Mindanao.
However since the early 1990’s due to over logging of these forests, the Mamanwa have roamed from town to town begging for money for food. If they settled, they usually live near towns and cities where public schools are available but few attend these schools. Because they look different, many of them are embarrassed and scared to just enroll in public schools because they are racially prejudiced against by the society at large.
As a result of this racism, many Mamanwa internalized this and have come to see themselves as inferior and less than the average brown-skinned and Malay-looking Filipinos. This has also been passed down from one Mamanwa generation to the next.
MCN began its outreach to the Mamanwa people in 1988. Realizing that the Mamanwa were nearly 100% illiterate MCN began to investigate ways to teach them to read and write. Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) had produced a New Testament and literacy material for the Mamanwa in 1976, but it had gone mostly unused for more than two decades. Using these materials, in 1992 MCN was able to begin the Tribal Children’s Literacy Program (TCLP) to prepare the Mamanwa for entering the public school system.
Each year, MCN has an average of 160 children under TCLP who are enrolled in regular public schools. Since 1993 MCN, through TCLP has aided over a thousand Mamanwa children to enter Philippine public schools.
We have seen a majority of these complete elementary school (grades 1–6) and most of those who complete elementary school enter high school. To date over one hundred Mamanwa children have completed high school through TCLP and four have graduated from college. This is quite a change for them, as twenty years ago you could hardly find a Mamanwa who had attended school and of those none had completed elementary school.
In 2001 the Dormitory Program was started and a two-story dormitory/dining hall/ classroom building was constructed at MCN’s Mt. Zion Tribal Training Center in Mahayahay, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte. TCLP gives a chance to some Mamanwa children who live way out in the mountains to get an education as well.
The two main criteria to be accepted as a Dormitory student are that they live in mountain areas where there are no public schools available and where they have to walk two to three hours one way on mountain trails to go to school. Secondly, if they are orphans and they have no other family or relatives who can take care of them. These children are strictly screened so only those serious about their education are taken in. They are brought to Mt. Zion and they live in the Dormitory from June-March which is the regular school year in the Philippines. Their food, stay and other supplies are provided and their parents are encouraged to visit them every month.
1. Provides assistance to the tribal parents who find it very difficult to enter and keep their children in school. Our goal is to provide assistance to them from elementary school through high school.
2. Provides enrollment fees, uniforms, paper, pencils, pens and other school supplies.
3. Provides each child with one nutritious meal a day (usually lunch) for their physical and mental development.
4. Most importantly through Sunday school, Kids Klub and staff mentoring an opportunity is given for each child to know the love of Jesus and how they can come to know Him personally.
TCLP is a Sponsorship Program: MCN looks for concerned people who will commit to at least one year of sponsorship to provide the above needs for a tribal child. However our hope is that sponsors will continue their sponsorship for the entire education period of the child.
MCN asks that sponsors give $25/mo. for each sponsored child ($75/qt, $300/yr.)
A sponsor can select a specific child(ren) from the list on this web site, or request that MCN select the child(ren) for them.