Leyte, PH


Ikiko village

The Badjaos, sometimes known as “the sea nomads”, live in South-East Asia, between Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. This ethnic group possesses its own language and culture and a lifestyle that results from a harmony with the marine environment on which they are economically and spiritually dependent. 

They live in small houses on stilts built adjacent to their fishing site,
houses that they refer to as “fixed boats”. A community of 350 inhabitants, deprived of resources due to piracy and intensive industrial fishing, fled the southern Philippines to settle in Isabel, a town of 40,000 inhabitants where they built a lakeside village. Stateless and undocumented, they face discrimination and rejection by the local population. Despite abandoning their life as sea gypsies, they continue to live in symbiosis with the water and their principal activity is

The humanitarian project of the Ikiko collective – a French association founded in May 2016 by Christophe Cormy Donat, a young architect graduate of the École Spéciale d’Architecture de Paris – is to help the village inhabitants through training, education for the children and the creation of eco-friendly jobs. Protection of the environment is also one of the essential points of the NGO’s programme.

To strengthen the autonomy of the Badjao, the architect and his team constructed a first building housing a school and recycling centre where the plastic bags, umbrellas fabrics and bottles that litter the beach, streets and parks of Isabel are collected. After sorting, cleaning and cutting into spools of thread, the plastic and umbrellas fabric waste becomes the raw material for making fabrics and all kinds of objects (carpets, lamps,fashion accessories, etc.) while at the same time providing a solution for waste management. The sale of these objects constitutes a new form of income for the Bajau people and thus helps ensure their financial autonomy.

Occupying a new site inside the mangroves, the recycling centre is a showcase for the use of recycled materials: walls woven or knitted in plastic bags, plastic assembly knots, etc. It is also the heart of a new Lakeside village of 50 houses on stilts, built by the inhabitants using local materials. Each family have a deed of ownership and a legal existence.

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Status: Built
Location: Leyte, PH

The community center
The community center