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    Aeta overcomes discrimination and challenges, graduates from senior HS

    MANILA, Philippines – Bimiana Capuno, an Aeta, managed to overcome discrimination and the many challenges she faced in school. As she graduates from senior high school, Bimiana shares her story to inspire others to reach for their dreams, no matter the obstacles they face in life.

    “Hindi lahat ng Ayta sa bundok lang nakatira. Kabilang ako sa bumaba sa hawla upang maging isang katutubong magandang halimbawa. Baluga, kulot, ignorante madalas na tawag sa amin na para bang napaka layo namin sa kabihasnan,” Bimiana mused in a Facebook post that has gone viral.

    Despite the discrimination she faced and the many hurtful words she heard from others, Bimiana was able to complete the senior high school General Academic Strand from Holy Angel University in Angeles, Pampanga.

    Bimiana is among the scholars of Project Malasakit, a program by Filipino journalist Kara David. Through the scholarship program, Bimiana was encouraged to leave the isolated, tight-knit community in the mountains so she can go to school.

    Bimiana Capuno, an Aeta Kara David scholar
    Photo credit: Bimiana Capuno / Facebook

    She recalled that on the first day of school, she felt scared and unsure whether she could actually achieve anything in school. After all, she is so different from all the other students there. But she eventually summoned the courage to put her head up and smile, telling herself, “Ikaw ang orihinal na Pilipino!”

    Throughout her years in school, Bimiana experienced discrimination from heartless people who can’t understand her culture and only judged her for her looks. But she also felt thankful that she earned good friends who helped her understand herself better.

    The young Aeta is also happy that she was able to finish her studies with the help of her scholarship from kindhearted donors. She also received support from her coaches and teachers. Thanks to these supportive people, she managed to reach for her dreams.

    — Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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