Activism and transformation on the ground
Chaya Go is a recent International Leader of Tomorrow Award alumnus from the Philippines. She graduated with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and has always had an intense passion for everything she involves herself in. Chaya has returned to her home to advocate for the indigenous communities in the region.
When asked about what she is doing right now, she says, “I am now back in the Philippines working full-time with an NGO based in Manila, the Assisi Development Foundation. It funds, co-implements, and co-monitors a variety of community development projects nationwide, ranging from food security, literacy, water sovereignty, among others. Many of our partner-beneficiaries are indigenous cultural communities. I’ve been assigned to Boracay Island to assist in the land struggle of the Atis, who have been working over the last 10 years to secure their 2.1 hectare ancestral domain.
“I am also assisting in the construction of a school and demo(nstration) farm in Quirino Province for the Agta community who, due to deforestation and lack of food security, are now transitioning out of a nomadic life into semi-agrarian ways.
“I hope to begin my graduate studies soon, maybe in the next year or two. It is my intention that my work experience and the new relationships growing now will inform what the next ‘project’ will be — an exploration of how the academe can be part of activism and transformation on the ground. I am still consciously experimenting with how my undergraduate experiences are shaping my practices. Among many other involvements in and out of campus, I was part of the UBC Philippine Studies Series — a group of students who increase the discourses in Vancouver on the Philippines. This network of friends continues to shape my work.”
To incoming students she says, “Give yourself time to find your way around UBC, and to find yourself in all you do.”