Approaching the International Day of the Girl, the voices of women shall not be suppressed rather, shared to empower and inspire more girls to do the same.
This month of October, we celebrate the alumnae of the organization that continually inspire the people in their communities through their leadership and advocacies.
Carmela Ellaga is a 22-year old advocate and environmentalist, who grew up in a fisherfolk community in Brgy. Bulata, across the wildlife sanctuary and Marine Protected Area of Danjugan Island, in Cauayan, Negros Occidental. She is a PRC licensed fisheries technologist and an SSI certified freediver who took her Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries as Cum Laude from Carlos Hilado Memorial State College. Since she was at the age of 15, she was a scholar, an eco-guide, and a camp facilitator, teaching and learning about conservation at the Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program (DEEP) of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation (PRRCFI).
Carmela is currently working as a Community officer with PRRFCI in the replication of the ProCoast Project in South Negros that aims for sustainable coastal protection through biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems that are prone to disaster. Carmela believes that women like her, are important in battling the climate crisis, especially in the protection of small-scale, artisanal, municipal, and sustenance fishers as important sectors in coastal resource management.
Carmela’s journey through community engagement and working along with the fisherfolk sector has allowed her to fight for gender equality and sustainable environmental governance. She is driven by the history of inequality and inaccessibility to higher education, women in her community faced.
She believes that a woman is needed in times of crisis. It is her hope that someday, our fisherfolk sectors will be given vital importance – and women in her community will be given opportunities to change the world – to create more meaningful impacts towards more sustainable oceans and marine resources.