Meriam Abba Tedding



Meriam Abba Tedding

Meriam is a social worker and the head of the Zamboanga Sub Office at the Community and Family Services International where she has spent a decade working to promote social justice, peace, and development.

As an indigenous person herself, Meriam engages directly with her Sama Bajau community and her mission is to support education for the younger generation of indigenous communities.

Initially exiting school to earn a livelihood for her family, the financial support she received through scholarships enabled her to continue her education – a dream she hopes to make reality for other children. During the Covid-19 pandemic, her team supported parents unable to support their children’s self-learning modules by setting up Community Learning Hubs, mobilising volunteer-teachers and contextualising modules into the local Sinama dialect.

Through this, 200 children benefitted and were not only able to stay in school but receive psychosocial support through the pandemic. As the Sama Bajau continue to be at risk of statelessness, Meriam hopes to lobby at the national level for a free and easy registration process for people with no Certificates of Live Birth.

She looks forward to bringing her mission forward by connecting with other EI fellows from or working with indigenous communities across the region.