WILLARIZA "Willa" Veloso Tigle's parents are her inspiration on why she has that burning desire to help others. Both her parents, Rizalina and Willard, are project coordinators of Migrante International, a non-government organization, and inspired her to embrace advocacies and programs that focus on helping the deprived sector of the society.
"It all started when I was in high school. My mother was an advocate and she wanted us to have our own advocacies too," says Tigle, who is the Chairperson of Youth for Development, formerly Youth for Duterte Movement, and a mother of a three-year-old.
Born on October 25, 1989 at Barangay Sampao, Kapalong, Davao del Norte, Willa took AB Mass Communication but she was not able to finish it. With her intention of extending help to the needy, Willa joined several groups and organizations that advocated women empowerment, reproductive health, child trafficking, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, and even child abuse.
"It beefed up my interest towards volunteerism. And yes since then, I found myself saying, 'this is me, and this is what I want to do and this is what I want to be!'" Willa said she worked before as a consultant at Sutherland Global Philippines for a year. She was also an Online Teacher at 51Talk Philippines for a year.
She admits that after every place or beneficiary they visit, the more she feels to keep in touch with them and her drive to help becomes more intense.
"One example when we visited the Manobo community at Sitio Nasilaban, Talaingod, Davao del Norte, may dala kaming (we brought) medicines for them, food for them, water for them, clothes, bread and biscuits, but you know what touched the most, when one Manobo child sat beside me and said, 'Salamat sa pagbisita, Ma'am!' (Thank you for visiting, Ma'am)" shared Willa, who is also a youth volunteer/leader of National Youth Commission and is also connected with National Social Media DDS Team.
Due to lack of money to fund their activities and buy the needs for their chosen beneficiary, Willa said they organized concerts for a cause wherein they ask the concert-goers to bring some donations and other stuff for their beneficiaries.
"As much as we would like to extend all our efforts, we are limited to what we only have when in fact, if everyone will be with us, we can easily dispense more services beyond what is expected from us," Willa added.
With the help of social media, Willa and her team was able to gather the donations and items needed for their activity.
"It's actually the most convenient and easiest way to communicate to the people and share our advocacy to them. We upload photos, videos, articles so we can catch people's attention. Because through social media, we're not just thinking outside the box, but we're thinking without the box in reaching out to others," she said.
As of the moment, Youth for Development has its "Sining Pagganap at Sagip Gamit Eskwela" with the theme "Educating the Youth from Vulnerabilities for a Safer MindaNOW!"
Working with her are their volunteers who also tirelessly visit the rural communities and school they adopt.
"Recently, to celebrate Duterte's birthday, we had a feeding 'Salu-Salo with Lumad' (boodle fight) at Tubison Elementary School in Sitio Tubison, Brgy. Astorga, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur," she said.
Willa said she looks at people who do not believe in their cause and those who discourage them as a driving force.
"We eventually encourage them to join us in fulfilling our dreams," she said.
While very much involved in civic works, Willa said, she is not eyeing a political career. The thought did cross her mind a while back, but only because she saw it as having access to funds for social programs.
“Before it was an option kay murag paminaw nako mas daghan ko’g matabangan kung naa ko sa politics (because I felt I can help many people if I'm in politics), pero (but) now, it’s a NO. I realized that we don't need to be in the position for us to help others and bring change to them especially to the IP (Indigenous People's) community. I realized that there's so many kind-hearted people specially the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) who really want to help the kids, with no hesitations, with all the passion and love for the Philippines," she said.
Being a volunteer and seeing the problems of every place they visit, Willa dreams to see a real change in the future, that people regardless of race and status, will help one each other.
“I dream to see IP children having comfortable school buildings, chairs, desks, school comfort rooms, enough school supplies, foods for their hungry stomach, security for their safety, education. I want them to feel that they are loved by many," she added.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on April 22, 2017.
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