Eluminada Roca has lived all her life next to the Leyte Sab-a Basin peatlands. The grandmother from of San Isidro village in Philippines’ Leyte island grew up looking at the green hills that feed water to the peat land, she harvested tikog—a peatland grass to weave mats—and ate the delicious fish that was once in abundant in the waters. But today, the land is losing its water, the grass is disappearing and the fish stock has drastically decreased.
There are roughly three million Yanadi indigenous people in India today. What is common among them all is the cycle of utter poverty and deprivation that they have been subjected to. Yet the Yanadis are taking steps to claim their rights. “There are so many odds, but for my people, standing together can be the best way to overcome them all,” said Gandala Sriramalu, a Yanadi community elder.