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AETA AKO, PILIPINO AKO is a foundation dedicated to providing nutrition and livelihood opportunities for poverty-stricken Aetas who have been adversely affected by the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We believe that no one should have to suffer from malnutrition, least of all the Aeta children of Capas, Tarlac. Their families’ way of life has been disrupted by the restricted access to aid in the form of goods and basic services, as well as the limitation of their ability to earn an income from their skills and resources.

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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the community of Aetas in Capas, Tarlac fell on very hard times. Because of quarantine restrictions, the Aetas of this community have been cut off from their primary sources of aid and livelihood. Under the lockdown, community workers and volunteers are unable to deliver goods and supplies to their intended beneficiaries. Likewise, the Aetas are unable to sell their root crops, charcoal, and banana hearts, since they can't bring their goods to market. As a result, they have lost their opportunity to earn income, which severely limits their ability to cover the other costs of their day-to-day living.

Without access to aid and stable income, food has become very scarce for the Aetas in Capas, as well as in other communities around Luzon. The Aetas must now struggle through the challenges of hunger, starvation and malnutrition, which threaten the survival of their very community. Children and infants are among the hardest hit and the most vulnerable. There is barely any milk to feed the children, with mothers sometimes turning to sugar-flavored water as a substitute.

This situation is reflective of the biggest health problems in these communities. Malnutrition has led to serious detrimental effects on the physical and mental development of the Aeta children. Suffering from malnutrition, not to mention a host of secondary health issues, those aged between 5 and 6 begin to resemble toddlers of 2-3 years old, while 10-year-olds look like children aged 4 to 5.

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