WITH the war, famine, and poverty going on in different parts of the country, the youth’s voices are never but a mere whisper. They are just as loud, if not louder, than the cries and advocacies for change of those older and more experienced than they are. The hope on the youth had been recognized even during the time of national hero Jose Rizal. If properly taught and are properly learned, the youth can spark change to the society and be a fruitful part of the community.
This is exactly what the four Grade 10 and Grade 12 students of Al Munawwara Islamic School in Ma-a, Davao City learned during their participation to the 4-day Yale Model United Nations (YMUN) Conference held at Yale University last January 18 to 21.
Together with 1,800 other youth delegates from 31 schools all over the globe, Abdelaziz Kusain Jul, Asmaira Delna Dibarosan, Hanefah Comayog Mama, and Sherhada Balomo Ibrahim shared and listened to different insights of their fellow youth on how they can contribute on the social calamities faced by different countries.
The delegates were divided into different groups with each group assigned to discuss different social crisis and come up with resolutions. There were 12 to 13 youth per committee and these are all coming from different countries.
Dibarosan and Mama, together with the other delegates from their committee, were assigned to discuss and produce resolutions for the child refugee crisis particularly in Portugal and Turkey.
Portugal currently has a great number of Syrian and German refugees while Turkey now has the largest number of Syrian refugees in the region. Because of this, Mama said the access to free and public education for the child refugees is almost close to impossible. They have brainstormed with the other delegates and found out how this lack of access to public education remains to be one of the most major social crisis faced by the child refugees.
Because of this, their team came up with a resolution that would suggest empowerment of the government agencies and non-government organizations (NGO) in Portugal and Turkey to ensure that these children are educated.
Jul, on the other hand, was assigned to African Union committee. His committee found out how the piracy in coastal waters, particularly in the Central African Republic, is one of the major social crisis in Africa.
“Particularly in the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea, the piracy done by local fishermen is very chronic. They rob the other ships at sail,” said Jul.
However because of their team’s thorough brainstorming they found out that the root of all these rebellion still stemmed from the lack of proper education for the youth. “To be able to lessen the instances of rebellion in Africa, maybe sending religious mission to promote peace and harmony may help as well as universal access to education to eliminate poverty and rebellion,” Jul shared.
As Gambia and Somalia are very much rich in oil, poor handling had also resulted into ecological destruction and further piracy in the waters. He also said additional military action may also help with the social crisis.
Even though these world issues are particularly in other countries, the youth delegates from Davao City believed that this matter is not new and different from what the Philippines is currently experiencing or may experience in the future.
Because of this, Dibarosan encouraged more youth to be engaged and more open to social discourses while learning the right values and principles along the way.
“I learned in this 4-day conference that time shouldn’t be what’s chasing after us. Instead, we should be the ones running after time as there are a lot to be done. Also, for the youth, I learned that we have a voice as well,” said Dibarosan.
Mama, on her part, said the youth should try to be knowledgeable of the current affairs happening around.
“We, as teenagers, should be conscious and well-informed of what is happening around us and not just always on the Internet or on Facebook doing nothing,” said Mama.
As the students are part of the student government organization in their school, they believe that it is much easier for them to impart to their fellow students what they learned in the conference.
Going back to the Philippines, they plan to establish a day in a week where they are to tackle world problems of the different countries and brainstorm on how they can help. They also look forward to an activity they are to launch on the World Interfaith Harmony forum. This way, their fellow students will be conscious and aware of the different issues not just in the other countries but in the Philippines.
As young as they are, the kids already know how much value they have for the future of the country. In 10 years, Jul wishes to be an ambassador for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dibarosan said she wants to work for social services of the United Nations, while Mama is eyeing a government position where she would be able to have the authority for the approval and implementation of specific laws.