Born in a Tribe, Understanding the Tribe: Pioneering an Educational Pathway for Indigenous Children

Fifteen years ago, Principal Bukut Tasvaluan, of Bunun origin, witnessed the learning difficulties faced by children in his tribe. Together with retired teachers from Jian Guo High School, he founded "Vox Nativa Association, Taiwan", and was determined to create a new education model for indigenous children. Having worked in education in Nantou County for decades, Bukut has held various positions in rural elementary schools at the foot of Jade Mountain, including principal, teacher, and choir conductor. He realized that indigenous children need not just tangible goods, but the building of self-confidence and the cultivation of character which would help these children find the strength to progress steadily in their learning and personal growth.

The Ultimate Survival Challenges for Indigenous Children:

Every day, children in indigenous villages not only deal with threats from being poor and lack of resources, they also face various challenges that impede their educational and personal growth....

Only by improving their education can possibly change the future of these children

In the autumn of 2008, Vox Nativa Music School, Taiwan was established in Xinyi Township, Nantou County. This non-institutional holiday school mainly enrolls children from elementary and middle schools from various tribal villages. On weekends and holidays the school reinforces their basic studies, cultivates their characters through music lessons, and teaches them the indigenous culture. As there are no high schools in the villages, students must continue their study in urban areas after graduating from middle school. This leads to significant learning frustrations and adjustment issues, regrettably often resulting in dropping out of school.

Therefore, in 2018 we pooled resources to establish the "The Experimental High School of Yuan Sheng International Academy" in NewTaipei City. With a focus on English and music, we build upon the foundation of indigenous culture and open opportunities for international exchange, hoping that the students would become role models in their tribes who could integrate perspectives with their own heritage and the outside world.

Singing for Their Future

Choral music is the soul of Bunun culture. For indigenous people, music is not just music, but also the practice of character education. Choral learning fosters values such as "respect, tolerance, support, sharing, and harmony." Performances are the embodiment of character education, helping children build confidence and re-recognize the value of their culture. This practice enables children to stride out of their villages to soar to the international stage. Let the world hear the singing from Jade Mountain!

Twelve years of continuous school nurture lives that thrive through singing

For fifteen years, Vox Nativa has unleashed the potential of indigenous children through academic support and choral lessons. We have woven a safety net of education to catch indigenous children for any possible setback or drop out. Regardless of how remotely they might live are or how under-privileged they might be, we believe that in this nurturing educational environment, they would be empowered to make different choices of their lives. Yuan Sheng International Academy (Grades1-12) will open up different educational opportunities for long-disadvantaged indigenous children, allowing them to shape a different and much brighter future.