PO Box 55938, Port­land, OR 97238 USA mcni.usa@gmail.com (559) 478-0252

About TCLP

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.



MCN 224How­ever 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.

Mamanwa 6Each 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.


TCLP Goals:

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.