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  • Writer's pictureEd & Jo Duenas

Reversing Cycle of Poverty of Dowry

Even in this day and age of technology and globalization, there are still a group of people that live in a culture that detrimental to their progress and elevation from poverty. We have received a report from one of our field that many young people from our church there have been forced to be married. Most are minor and underage. The reason they need to be married? Poverty!

Organic Farming and Livestock Raising Training Center

Their families needed the dowry that came with the arranged marriage. I want to be clear that I am not against the cultures of dowry nor I am speaking of abolishing it. What I am sharing here is how the dowry of this particular group is being used. From what I have heard personally on one of my earlier visit is that they pretty much purchase the children for their wives as early as six (6) years old. I was even told that some young ladies were given to marriage to pay off debts.

You could imagine my surprise from the answer of a fourteen years old young lady when I asked her how old is her sister that she was carrying. She said that she is not her sister, she is her daughter. Her kid was a year old. It made me feel uncomfortable to ask her anymore question after that although I do understand their culture.

Back on the young ladies of our church who have been married this year. A couple of this young ladies were going to be our college scholars. But now that they are married, they will likely will be pregnant soon and will only be staying home and taking care of their family. No more education, no more dreams of a better life. Their families decided to have them get married because they needed financial relief that a dowry can give them.

I feel like we are in a race against time since we still have other young ladies who can only dream to go to college and have a better life for themselves and for their families. Although we have young men who also dream of having a better life, the ladies are usually are more committed to their dreams.

Dowry keeps this group of indigenous people in poverty.

Their children will never get college education. My personal knowledge of the community which we have been working with for over four years is that about 85% of the adult did not graduate high school and it looks like their children are on the same path. And so they stay in the ever vicious cycle of poverty!

Without any form of livelihood, dowry will continue to be their only source of financial relief. So they will continue to bear children despite of their poor living conditions.

Thankfully, pastor Rene Makin's vision for his ministry is to help his fellow indigenous people to grow in knowledge of organic farming and raising livestock. And his heart is to share God's love through livelihood training. He and his wife, Beth, lead our Organic Farming and Livestock Raising Training Center in their community. They are reaching the Palawenos of Ransang, Palawan with the gospel and with our livelihood development program. We are hoping to start as soon as possible in teaching Palawenos how to farm vegetables and fruits as well as raising chicken, pigs and tilapia. By teaching organic and livestock raising, the community will not rely too much on dowry and will allow their children to pursue their dream of college education.

We do need help in the purchase of materials needed for the training. First the land to which they could practice planting. We need to buy a 3 hectare lot for the farming and livestock raising. Then we also need to buy seedlings, ingredients to produce organic fertilizer, and farming tools for the students. We roughly need about $15,000 to do this and if all goes well, we will be self-sustaining in three years time.

Will you help us reverse the cycle of poverty in the community of Malutok, Ransang, Palawan? Visit us at and give toward GEM account #: 786. Write a note that your donation is for the "Organic Farming Training." You can give online as well.

Finally, if you have not subscribed yet to our email updates, please do so you can receive updates on what we are doing here in the Philippines to share the Gospel through development and disaster relief projects. You can also visit our website to see where we are at on our fundraising goal for this project.

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