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AISHA SABRAL STORY: Life of a Sama-Bajau in the Metro

“Every cloud has a silver lining” an old saying that resembles the journey of Aisha Sabral, a Sama-Bajau living in the streets of Manila. She became a member of Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF) under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.  The MCCT was a program that accommodates homeless street families, Indigenous People in Geographically Isolated Areas as well as Itinerant Indigenous People.

Living in the streets of Malate, Aisha experienced to be soaked in the rain, deprived of basic needs and discriminated.  Adapting to the bustling Metro was not easy for the Sama-Bajau.  Their traditional ways of life were far too different in the mainstreamed society thus, resorting to other means to survive like begging.  The girl experienced to play “tambol” and hop-in to every jeepney they see just to earn money and to survive. All of these might still be happening right now if they were not reached out by the Department through the MCCT.

Aisha Sabral performed “ Kulintangan”

When Aisha was included in the program, she was scared at first because she taught that the objective of the program is to bring them back to Zamboanga where armed conflicts and lack of employment opportunities were present. One of the provisions of the program to the homeless members like Aisha is the provisions of Alternative Family Home (AFH) and other Social Service Interventions depending on their need.  On April 2015, she was recommended to avail the AFH and recommended to work as a Street Assistant last October to December of the previous year. She was described as a good worker who did her job well and delivered reports on time. Currently, Aisha is a Day Care Assistant at Barangay 704, endorsed to Capital Assistance under LGU and Livelihood assistance under Heleos Foundation, one of the Department’s partners. Meanwhile, her husband, Allan Sabral is selling hand-made accessories.

Aisha Sabral actively participates in different activities concerning Sama-Bajaus such as fora, consultation dialogues and among others. She represented the Sama-Bajau in the recently held Forum of Indigenous Peoples. She even performed the traditional dance called Kulintangan on occasions to promote their rich culture.

“Kailangang magsikap at huwag sayangin ang tulong na aming natatanggap ngayon. Hindi kailangang umasa lamang sa natatanggap na tulong mula sa gobyerno sapagkat alam kong ito’y pansamantala lamang dahil sa mga susunod na panahon, ibang kapatid kong Sama-Bajau naman ang matutulungan ng programa,” Sabral emphasized when she was interviewed.###

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