THE University of St. La Salle’s College of Education Student Council launches the year-long Lakbay Ata initiative with the exhibit entitled “Pag-ulikid: The Ata Exhibit” at Museo De La Salle Bacolod last November 21, 2022.

The exhibit showcases the lives and ways of the Ata tribes of the cities of Sagay and Cadiz, as well as the town of Don Salvador Benedicto

The projects established by the USLS College of Education for the past few years, through different forms of media and arts, are also featured in this exhibit.

In a statement, the organizer said that this activity is also part of the extended celebration for the National Indigenous People’s Month last October.

June Carl Seram, chairman of the Secondary Education Department said the exhibit will promote awareness about our Indigenous People’s tribes through appreciation of their arts and crafts.

“We will tour this exhibit to the different schools around Negros (and) we hope to share this with other students to ignite their intellectual curiosity and nurture their appreciation of the arts,” Seran added.

USLS College of Education alumna Vejiel Velez, the first education college graduate from the Ata tribe, inspired this project as she had been passionately sharing their lives and the stories from her home.

Now a teacher, Velez teaches at Bagong Silang Elementary School in their ancestral domain in the mountains of Don Salvador Benedicto while her sister Jaquelyn is also a teacher-in-the-making and heads the IP committee of the student council.

Dr. Sheila Uy, Dean of the USLS College of Education, first started the efforts because she believed that the Atas should be included and be part of the conversation in the scope of the Negritos in Southeast Asia.

This project is in line with the college’s partnership with Project FORTH (Formation of Teachers in Emerging Challenged Areas), an Erasmus Mundus-funded project by the European Union, she said.

The USLS faculty recently presented the needs assessment in the implementation of the IP education curriculum in Bagong Silang Elementary School to Project FORTH in their European study visit in Brussels, Belgium.

The Lakbay Ata Project was also hailed as one of the national finalists for the 19th Search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organization Award (Tayo) in 2021. With this accomplishment, the student council hopes to bring more help and support for the Ata Learning Hub to be built in the coming year.

The Pag-ulikid Exhibit at Museo De La Salle Bacolod is open to all students to visit from November 21 to 25, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. For more information, contact the FB page: USLS College of Education Student Council. (PR)