Celebrating International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Happy Indigenous Day! The 9th August is a United Nations observed day to acknowledge the rights of indigenous peoples and protect diversity.

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They  speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.

Across the Cambodian communities in which we work, 12 local or indigenous languages are spoken whilst 4 different languages are spoken in our schools in Myanmar. Whilst these languages are a sign of rich and diverse local culture, they have left many communities isolated from a state education system that serves only those who speak Khmer or Burmese.

At United World Schools we rise to the challenge of teaching children the national language whilst preserving indigenous cultures and customs. By training members of the local community to work alongside government teachers, we are able to offer the children a bilingual learning environment, which is vital for opening pathways to higher education and vocational training.

Whilst linguistic diversity often presents a challenge across our 85 UWS schools, we are proud to work in such distinct communities to promote cooperation and solidarity between both indigenous peoples and the international community.