Indigenous Language: A Cultural Treasure

August 9, 2019

Did you know that the United Nations General Assembly declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) to raise awareness of the crucial role languages play in people’s daily lives? This is because it is estimated that every two weeks, an indigenous language disappears, endangering our precious cultural heritage and human knowledge resources.

Together with the rest of the world, the Voice program is celebrating World Indigenous People’s day this August 9 by sharing the voices of indigenous language speakers. They are part of various organizations supported by Voice in both Asia and Africa.

For Asia, partners from the Philippines and Indonesia share about the importance of native languages as well as their favorite words! Hear their podcasts below:


Matius Ngahu Peha Kabihu Anamaarai, East Sumba, Indonesia &

Marten Hongolimo, Mamboro, Indonesia

Matius is a tribal leader of the Anamaarai Kabihu while Marten is from the Muritana tribe, two of the partner communities of Yayasan Bumi Manira (YBM), an Influencing Grantee of Voice Indonesia. YBM is a foundation that provides support and services to development agencies in the areas of communication, materials development, community development, and natural resources management. Their project with Voice aims to increase community resilience of six communities in Sumba, Indonesia by supporting them in accessing control over their land and implementation of a natural resource management in the village.

“The Lewa language needs to be preserved so that children and grandchildren will not forget their origin.” –  Matius Ngahu Peha Kabihu Anamaarai, East Sumba, Indonesia



Maggie Suyawan Ukab, Cagayan de Oro , Philippines

Maggie is a proud Higaonon tribe leader from one of the partner communities of Peace and Sustainable Development Movers, Inc. (PSDM). An Empowerment Grantee, PSDM is an emerging organization from the Mindanao region that envisions to transform marginalized communities into peaceful and sustainable ones. In their Voice project, they focused on empowering 13 indigenous communities as advocates of environmental protection and preservation of indigenous knowledge systems.


Apart from Matius, Marten and Maggie, others from Voice Indonesia and Philippines have also shared their two cents! To hear them out, you may follow the Voice social media pages:



Twitter: @voicetweetz

“Language creates a community of understanding, harmony and unity.” – CEGP and CYC, Cordillera Region, Philippines

About Voice

Voice is an innovative grant facility for inclusion and diversity. The program is run in ten different countries in East Africa, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. Voice is implemented by Hivos and Oxfam Novib, with Hivos coordinating Tanzania, Indonesia, Kenya, and the Philippines.