Shirley, an indigenous Manide woman from the remote Camarines Norte province in the Philippines, has overcome discrimination, poverty and inequality to train as a Tribal Health Worker. She is now able to support her family, send her children to school and has become a leader in her community, standing up for their rights and better health outcomes.
The approximately 17 million indigenous people in the Philippines are some of the most vulnerable in the nation, suffering discrimination, high rates of ill health and displacement from their ancestral lands.
Local Caritas Australia partner, SPACFI, encouraged Shirley to train as a Tribal Health Worker with the aim of becoming a much needed and trusted intermediary between her community and government health care services.
Now qualified, Shirley works in the local government health clinic as well as conducting home visits within her community.
Shirley said, “When I became a health worker, my tribe gained the confidence to visit the health centre. I became the voice of my tribe to have their needs heard. My job assists indigenous people to visit the health centre to get their kids vaccinated. We no longer have cases of severe diseases. “
Pictures and Video shot on assignment for Caritas Australia.