ml-museum


Opportunity in Our Hands
Volume 24 Number 1
Thursday, 12 January 2012 11:51

by Sherel Quider

 

Dr. Jose Rizal once said that the youth is the hope of our nation.  It makes me think how this could be the case. Meeting people each day offers an opportunity for me to interact with different persons.  The staff of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) aided me and other young people like me to discover and improve our talents and skills toward a particular goal – to defend human rights.
Before, I admired the youth advocates of human rights whom I saw on television joining rallies. I admired their strength in defending human rights.  I did not expect that I would come as far. I started as a participant in an interfaith youth camp held last October 2009. I just went with the flow and shared what little I know in each workshop.  But in the end, all of the participants’ contributions became significant for the completion of the theater presentation.
Dr. Jose Rizal once said that the youth is the hope of our nation.  It makes me think how this could be the case. Meeting people each day offers an opportunity for me to interact with different persons.  The staff of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) aided me and other young people like me to discover and improve our talents and skills toward a particular goal – to defend human rights.
Before, I admired the youth advocates of human rights whom I saw on television joining rallies. I admired their strength in defending human rights.  I did not expect that I would come as far. I started as a participant in an interfaith youth camp held last October 2009. I just went with the flow and shared what little I know in each workshop.  But in the end, all of the participants’ contributions became significant for the completion of the theater presentation.

 

This inspired me to do a thesis (school year 2009 – 2011) entitled “Poster Variables Associated to Levels of Awareness of Bukidnon State University (BSU) Students on Human Rights Advocacy (HRA)”. I reflected on myself as a student. Since I became connected with TFDP, my level of awareness has increased, not just in terms of sections and articles of human rights documents, but also on issues like mining, dams, torture, etc.
I finished my thesis and found out that the awareness of BSU students on HRA was only on the basic level. Hence, one of my recommendations was for clubs and organizations in the universities to be part of the awareness building on human rights advocacy. This should not only include school activities but also community issues and concerns.
Being with the community helped in knowing the people’s problems and needs. This was what my Zamboanga immersion (May 2010) taught me. I found encouragement to continue their fight against mining. This was what was highlighted in the Dipolog Youth for Rights (Y4R) theater presentation.
When it was time for me to go back to school in June 2010, I and my Y4R friends were motivated to build an organization in school. It will be a chance for us to share our talents, and at the same time, advocate for human rights.
I became the Y4R president at the BSU. They said with great power comes great responsibility. Leading the group was not easy since it was our first year. Despite this, the ADIK KA (Arte, Drama, Indak, Kanta ng Kabataang Artista para sa Karapatang Pantao) theatre presentation on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day (December 10, 2010) was very successful.
This was followed by our community ADIK KA presentation in Sitio Kikipot (December 12, 2010), a few kilometers away from Kibawe proper. We were so tired, but very happy that our audience appreciated our presentation and looked at us as the youth of Mindanao who were active in human rights advocacy.
ADIK KA in Mindanao was first created at Edlimar Spring Resort, Maramag, Bukidnon last October 20 to 24, 2010, together with Davao Fire Dancers and was sponsored by TFDP. It was first presented at the Kibawe Gymnasium.
On November 28 to December 4, 2010, I was chosen to be a participant in the TFDP Human Rights Defenders general assembly in San Juan, Metro Manila. I was elected as the North and South Bukidnon Representative. The trust given me to handle such a position was very overwhelming for me.  It challenged me more to continue with this advocacy.  From that time, I thought how I will be able to do this for a lifetime.
It feels so good to make other people happy, especially the political prisoners. I was able to attend the “Paskuhan sa Kampo” and delivered food aid at the Provincial Detention Rehabilitation Center in Malaybalay City. I realized how true it is that there are people who have a strong conviction to fight for their rights, even at the expense of their lives, their families, and their freedom.
Lastly, it is a great privilege that the first Y4R general assembly was conducted in Bukidnon last March 27 to 28, 2011 at the Veranda, Malaybalay City. Together with Y4R National President Noliver Barrido, the different Y4R representatives from various universities came together to discuss the Y4R Constitution and By-laws and general plan of action.  The national Y4R officials were also elected.
Someday, Y4R will be known worldwide because of its advocacy for human rights through the arts.  Through opportunities given to us Lumad, Moro and Christian youth, we will be the leaders of tomorrow and the hope of our nation.
This inspired me to do a thesis (school year 2009 – 2011) entitled “Poster Variables Associated to Levels of Awareness of Bukidnon State University (BSU) Students on Human Rights Advocacy (HRA)”. I reflected on myself as a student. Since I became connected with TFDP, my level of awareness has increased, not just in terms of sections and articles of human rights documents, but also on issues like mining, dams, torture, etc.
I finished my thesis and found out that the awareness of BSU students on HRA was only on the basic level. Hence, one of my recommendations was for clubs and organizations in the universities to be part of the awareness building on human rights advocacy. This should not only include school activities but also community issues and concerns.
Being with the community helped in knowing the people’s problems and needs. This was what my Zamboanga immersion (May 2010) taught me. I found encouragement to continue their fight against mining. This was what was highlighted in the Dipolog Youth for Rights (Y4R) theater presentation.
When it was time for me to go back to school in June 2010, I and my Y4R friends were motivated to build an organization in school. It will be a chance for us to share our talents, and at the same time, advocate for human rights.
I became the Y4R president at the BSU. They said with great power comes great responsibility. Leading the group was not easy since it was our first year. Despite this, the ADIK KA (Arte, Drama, Indak, Kanta ng Kabataang Artista para sa Karapatang Pantao) theatre presentation on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day (December 10, 2010) was very successful.
This was followed by our community ADIK KA presentation in Sitio Kikipot (December 12, 2010), a few kilometers away from Kibawe proper. We were so tired, but very happy that our audience appreciated our presentation and looked at us as the youth of Mindanao who were active in human rights advocacy.
ADIK KA in Mindanao was first created at Edlimar Spring Resort, Maramag, Bukidnon last October 20 to 24, 2010, together with Davao Fire Dancers and was sponsored by TFDP. It was first presented at the Kibawe Gymnasium.
On November 28 to December 4, 2010, I was chosen to be a participant in the TFDP Human Rights Defenders general assembly in San Juan, Metro Manila. I was elected as the North and South Bukidnon Representative. The trust given me to handle such a position was very overwhelming for me.  It challenged me more to continue with this advocacy.  From that time, I thought how I will be able to do this for a lifetime.
It feels so good to make other people happy, especially the political prisoners. I was able to attend the “Paskuhan sa Kampo” and delivered food aid at the Provincial Detention Rehabilitation Center in Malaybalay City. I realized how true it is that there are people who have a strong conviction to fight for their rights, even at the expense of their lives, their families, and their freedom.
Lastly, it is a great privilege that the first Y4R general assembly was conducted in Bukidnon last March 27 to 28, 2011 at the Veranda, Malaybalay City. Together with Y4R National President Noliver Barrido, the different Y4R representatives from various universities came together to discuss the Y4R Constitution and By-laws and general plan of action.  The national Y4R officials were also elected.
Someday, Y4R will be known worldwide because of its advocacy for human rights through the arts.  Through opportunities given to us Lumad, Moro and Christian youth, we will be the leaders of tomorrow and the hope of our nation.

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