Panay Island in the central Visayas is composed of several provinces- Aklan, Iloilo, Antique and Capiz. It is in these provinces that the Ati people are predominantly located. For years the Ati has been marginalized, discriminated and some, outright forgotten. In fact encroachment in their areas has been a sore thumb for the government.
The only one time the Ati becomes somewhat relevant is during the second week of every January. It is during this week that the Ati-Atihan Festival occurs. In the recent years the festival increasingly became more commercialized and a major tourist attraction. In spite of these advancements, the Ati are far from being the beneficiaries of these changes. After the festival is over, they are back where circumstances and fate has designated them to be.
Health issues are huge for the Ati people. Dental care in particular is almost never present. The Ati shy away from mainstream dental providers because they feel discriminated. Therefore, when sick they tend to turn to their local herbolarios for comfort.
It is this unconcealed neglect of the Ati people that the Dentistry For Every Village Foundation (DFEVF) aims to address (at least from the standpoint of dental care) by building a dental clinic for them.
Establishing a dental office that will be open to the needs of the Ati people will be a great beginning. Having a place they know is meant for their specific welfare will draw them in. It is true that one dental office will not solve all of the dental problems of the Ati. But to a certain measure it will curtail the severity of the problem, one Ati at a time. More importantly, it will right a wrong, and render a kind deed for others, mainly the underprivileged Ati people. Subsequently, if the Ati will have a place to go for dental work, they will be encouraged to seek other medical services , leading to the enhancement of their general well being.
Donations and grants to the project will be appreciated. Please make checks payable to “Dentistry For Every Village Foundation” and mail to 22114 Roscoe Blvd., Canoga Park CA 91304.