Furthermore, Joanne initiated the foundation of the Candon Youth for Empowerment Movement (CYM) one year ago.
I have the right to speak. Even though my ideas are declined, my ideas and suggestions are heard. And often they are also implemented in some way, some time later. But, this is really the smallest of my problems. Imagine, you are always alone against all. Always me against the majority.
Definitely. It’s not only the rejection. Most of the time I'm not even invited to social events. Although the other eleven members are invited as members of the Council.
Last year, a group of young people and I established the CYM, and now we are already over 200 young people.
We cover areas like agripreneurship. Imagine, in average our farmers are 57 years old. Who will produce our food in the future? We cooperate with Tang Abat, a 82 year old farmer and meanwhile our movement runs its own farm.
Health issues like HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns and peer to peer mentoring in their own communities. It’s so important that young people can express their needs. Therefore, we train them, use social media and have our own social media sites. I really benefit from my profession as a video documentarian. Moreover, I have my own company, where we produce videos.
Yes, this is a huge plus as well, but a huge sum of it goes back to the community through their personal solicitations.
Recently, I took part in an international youth policy conference. There are so many ways to promote young people. In Germany, for example, there is the "Youth debates" programme. Every year more than 200,000 young Germans take part in this programme.
At least an idea for the young people in Candon and that’s what counts. The benefit for the young people.Would you like to make your volunteering service in the Candon Youth for Empowerment Movement in the Philippines? Contact Joanne at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Ruby Pedregosa; interviewed by Claus Sixt, 17-10-04
Joanne Valdez, 30 years old, is the only member of the minority in the twelve-member city council of Candon, a city in the northern part of the Philippines.