Enabling Filipino Children to Dream in Colour

Header of SEAD episode titled "Enabling Filipino Children to Dream in Colour" with Marie Angelique Villamor

In this episode we will be talking about how the most marginalised children and youth are living in chronic and short-term emergencies in the Philippines, FundLife’s initiatives, and of course, how every dream is worth believing in.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/4Jqzx9wyaAORW0RsMPo6FI?si=fe2d82eeadda428f

INTRO

Welcome to New Naratif’s Southeast Asia Dispatches. I’m your host, Bonnibel Rambatan, Editorial Manager for New Naratif. New Naratif is a movement to democratise democracy in Southeast Asia, and this podcast is one of the ways we attempt to do just that.

The Philippines has one of the highest rates of poverty in the region despite experiencing exceptional economic progress. Millions of students are out of school — a number that has only increased when Covid-19 hit.

4 out of 10 young people in the Philippines will be employed in the informal sector, frequently pays less than the national minimum wage and is unregulated, thus it does not offer a way out of persistent intergenerational poverty.

Education is pivotal to democracy, since it plays a major role in the equality of access and opportunities. Education should also ideally safeguard children from harm and abuse, and keep them away from online exploitation.

Speaking of exploitation and abuse, this episode will contain some discussions of those issues against children. We won’t go into details, but please be warned and feel free to leave this podcast if it makes you uncomfortable. You can check out our other episodes.

But if you’re still here, let’s continue.

Over 70% of all victims of online exploitation in the Philippines are children between the ages of 10 and 18. 87% of these victims are girls. These young women are frequently pressured into this dangerous environment by family members who are in extreme or acute poverty. It’s quite a given to say that girls in poverty are more likely than boys to encounter assault – in fact, they are four times more likely.

Through their initiatives, FundLife, a purpose-driven not for profit organisation in the Philippines, is committed to improving this situation. They aim to establish educational and employment pathways for Philippines underprivileged youth so that they can achieve their full potential. FundLife offers meaningful play programmes and training pathways that encourages children to appreciate learning, improvement, and growth.

Every child deserves a welcoming, safe space where they can learn and dream without feeling threatened.

SPEAKER INTRODUCTION

I am Angel Villamor and I am the senior project coordinator of FundLife International. At the same time, the program needs of girls get this under FundLife International, of course.

That is Marie Angelique Villamor, currently she is the Project Lead for Girls and Women Empowerment at FundLife. Angel is a nurse and a teacher by profession, and has been in the field of development work for years. She works on the grass roots level in the marginalised sectors in the community. She is a strong advocate in Child Rights, Gender Equity, and Youth Empowerment.

In this episode we will be talking about how the most marginalised children and youth are living in chronic and short-term emergencies in the Philippines, FundLife’s initiatives, and of course, how every dream is worth believing in.

INTERVIEW

FundLife International

For the listeners, can you tell us what FundLife is and what it does and maybe its history and so on?

FundLife international is actually a purpose driven, not for profit and non government organisation that is dedicated to create educational and employment pathways for our highly vulnerable youth so they may unleash their potential to the world.

It was actually founded in 2014 as a direct response to Typhoon Haiyan in Leyte to support the psychosocial and educational recovery of Survivor in the Covid. It expanded to Cebu in 2020 when the city became the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 pandemic.

Dream in Colour

I see. And your motto is enabling children to dream in colour. Why did you choose that? What does that motto mean specifically?

Specifically, we know that children really love to dream, and for us to become dream enablers to these children, we want them to reach more and achieve more in whatever pathway or in whatever choices they make in life. In other words, we want them to colour their dreams.

And as we in FundLife, we will help them colour their dreams and enable their dreams.

The Beneficiaries

That’s beautiful. So who are these beneficiaries? I mean, we did talk about people who are less fortunate, children who are less fortunate, and it’s a great mission, it’s a great vision, I guess, to enable them to have colours in their dreams.

But who are they? Who are the communities that you work with?

We’re working in two different islands, I should say, or two different cities. One in Tacloban City, and the other one is in Cebu City, Philippines. So these children are actually age 7 to 12 years old who are under our football league.

And the others here in Cebu City are girls and women who are from 14 years old and until 22 years old. They’re coming from different communities in our city. So specifically in Cebu, we have 8 communities, and we are working under 4 cities in metro Sydney.

The Communities

And how do you engage? How do you find these communities and how can they find you? Do some parties or some organisations submit the names or submit the communities? Do you personally look out for who might be recipients of your project and who might be potential recipients? How do you do it?

We actually work on the grassroots level, making sure that we are able to reach our target beneficiaries in terms of age, demographics and status. In a sense, we have partners who are local CSOs and existing CSOs who recommend communities to us.

In a way, we work directly with these communities or barangays in Cebu and Tacloban. We collaborate with them, especially the government and schools and their focal persons, since they know more about the needs and challenges of these communities.

And before in school, the students, basically, we use the bottom up approach to find our target beneficiaries. Well, one can also recommend one community, and we see to it that these communities are totally our target communities.

So, again, we work hand in hand with the government and other existing local CSOs in our city.

How Angel Join FundLife

So you’ve been doing this I mean, the organisation has been around since 2014, you mentioned, and you’ve also been doing this for three years. But how did you personally get involved in the initiative?

Well, I work as a nurse initially under a different CSO, and when we found out that there is an international CSO or non government organisation coming to Cebu City to help the COVID-19 pandemic respond. So I immediately hopped in and became part of FundLife International.

And with that, since the inception of FundLife here in CBCP last 2020, we directly respond to the needs of the emergency needs to the community. So we work in a direct response. We give relief operations, and we teach health tips, especially about COVID-19.

So I immediately get involved because I see how wonderful the vision is of FundLife and how they are very genuine in serving the community, especially when you talk about gender equality and having girls involved in the community and young women, of course, in the community.

So it’s just my passion to be in FundLife and Girls Got This program.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Education

Yeah, that’s very interesting though, because most people, when they hear about programs relating to COVID, then people automatically think, okay, health, right?

Well, and of course, obviously there are dimensions of that in the programs that you did when you joined, because during the COVID context and stuff like that. But then this also ties to empowerment. This also ties to, again, going back to enabling children to dream in colour, enabling children to actually see their future better and clearer, right.

So what are your thoughts on how these things are connected? Like, how does a health initiative connect to an empowerment initiative?

Well, we found out during the COVID pandemic that health is not the only major reason why we need to get involved in the community. But we also find out that here in the Philippines we get the longest lockdown.

So 720 days in the community or students are not in school. So we found out that in these 720 days, children are not in education. So connecting with the pandemic and the effects of the pandemic to education and to the children, we see a point where we can really get involved. So basically we prioritise education post pandemic. Thus we have already community mentorships.

Well, at first it was very challenging because we cannot get in the school, we cannot be personally engaged with them. So what we did is to have our mentorship sessions online. But again, when you know about online mentorship programs with these children, there are a lot of reasons that mean challenges that comes along the way.

First is the interconnectivity, the Internet connection. That’s one challenge. And the other one is not all of these children have cell phones. They do not have smartphones to begin with. So in a sense, we truly get involved in the community asking the focal person if we can see these children one on one.

And then when the school opened up, it was also very challenging for us because of the effect of the lockdown of these children, not just in terms of literacy, but in terms of their mental health.

That’s the reason right after post COVID-19, we initiated the mental health and psychosocial support sessions to these children, to get them back on track, to actually help them from a traumatising event, to actually help them to be involved in the school and become students again right after the lockdown.

How the Support Session Work

So how does that work? I mean, it sounds super amazing. All of these things that you’re doing, especially you really cater to multiple dimensions that these children need not only the health, but obviously also the education and then also realising the mental health needs.

What do you specifically do to cater to these? Do you have therapists or counselors and are they tied with the schools or with the governments or are they also volunteers?

Yes. So what we do is actually have our partner school and partner community. We talk to the teacher involved or vocal person and basically this teacher is their guidance counselor. So she or he has a background or background of these students, especially on their mental well being. After that one, she will recommend to us these children or the youth who need mental health support.

Of course, we do not have a psychiatrist with us, we don’t have a psychologist with us. What we do is to support them in their mental health, health and psychosocial interaction. But if we see somebody who really needs mental health support, something that we cannot handle, we do referrals. So we refer this child to a professional therapist.

That’s basically how it works.

Three Training Phases

Yeah, that’s really cool. You mentioned several times about gender equality and also the Girls Got this program. Can we talk a bit more about that one?

Yes, exactly. So our Girls Got This program is actually a post COVID-19 project and it is a strategic community led program to upscale vulnerable and young women to unleash their entrepreneurship spirit and provide dignified employment.

What we do is to have the three training phases. First thing is confidence building and role academy sessions. Then skills based training such as training these young women and adolescent girls for digital skills, job skills, e-commerce communication and independent micro business courses online. Lastly, we have the post training mentorship and job placement.

So this approach addresses the social development goal on gender equality, no poverty, decent work and economic growth. At the same time reduce equalities to these partner adolescent girls and young women.

Three Pathways

So are these, like, lots of different programs that the Beneficiaries can choose from, or are you giving every one of them roughly the same depth of education in these multiple fields, and then later they can choose where they want to continue learning or how does it work?

So first thing is that we gather these adolescent girls and young women and we explain to them about the purpose of the Three Pathway program. Right after that, they have the chance to choose which kind of program they would want to.

So what we currently have are the three pathways. We have the employability pathway, we also have our social interpretership pathway, and lastly the digital skills training pathway. Now, whichever pathway they choose, we support them with training, we support them with mentorship.

For example, if they want to choose the employability pathway then we give them training on human resource we give them training on finance at the same time to become employable ready when they choose social entrepreneurship pathway, we give them how to do a business plan. What makes a good business and what are the potential of your business in the community and how it will affect the entire community and yourself.

We also do the digital skills training pathway wherein these girls are taught on web development. We also have content creation and the like. So basically they have the freedom to choose in which pathway they are happy with and in which pathway they are confident to finish.

We initially give them the freedom to choose which pathway they can see that they can enable their dreams, they can achieve what they want to do.

Everybody Wants to be Businesswomen

So are these three pathways like equally popular or is like one pathway a lot more popular among the rest? Or is it maybe different from year to year? Or how is it so far?

How’s it going so far? What is really popular here in our pathway is our social entrepreneurship pathway. I think everybody wants to be businesswomen, so there are a lot of girls who are interested to do micro business.

So for now, we already have 70 girls who are into training on social entrepreneurship. We also have 45 girls under digital skill training and eight girls under employability pathway. So the number varies at this time. What’s really common is the entrepreneurship pathway.

Gender Factor

How does the gender factor, do you feel, play into this? Because obviously the girl scout this program is built based on your understanding of the problems of gender equality in the field and stuff like that, right?

So how do you feel this interaction between gender and entrepreneurship and maybe the wider fields of employability digital skills and stuff like that?

Well, the first thing is that we know this during our profiling and interview with these girls, they find that they are not very confident to get into the world of work. One thing, most of our beneficiaries are single mothers. They prioritize their children or their child first before getting into work. So most of them do household work, not really getting into a dignified employment.

And others are especially on digital pathway, they are scared to get involved in information technology on something computer related because as we know it, this is a male dominated courses. This is a male dominated, let’s say, world.

So when we talk to them, when we encourage them and give them options, then in a snap of finger, they would say, all right, I might try this. I want to do this. I could find myself getting involved in a certain situation where I could be confident enough and become, let’s say, employable and become businesswomen.

And in a way, they have something they can really say they own it. It’s an ownership for them.

So that’s how we encourage these girls, these adolescent girls and these young women to actually just do what they want to do and not be boxed in a gender stereotype world.

LGBTQ Equality

You also mentioned LGBTQ equality and inclusivity in your programs. How has it been going so far, this inclusivity? And with your programs as well, has there been challenges?

Well, in that program, we catered to LGBTQIA, especially on gays and lesbians, I should say, because first thing, these are actually adolescent youth. And first they would ask if I am capable of getting into the program, if I am qualified because of my gender.

Most of these youth ask us before being enrolled in our pathway. So we are very open to the LGBTQIA community. In fact, last 2022, we helped 2 LGBTQIA members who graduated in the employability pathway who are now national certificate holders, and they are proud of it. Of course, we are proud of it.

This time, under our leadership and youth empowerment, there are actually 3 LGBT members who are mingling with other girls who are opening up, that they are having fun, that they are learning a lot, especially on gender equality, especially on how to interact with others without being charged.

And with that, they are happy to be involved in different activities that FundLife initiated, that Girls Got This implemented. Because we did not see anything wrong. Having these children, having these youth in our program.

It’s amazing that you have that kind of awareness, that kind of vision. But I also imagine that it would be somewhat challenging in practice.

Because I imagine there would be backlash and friction, at least from the government, maybe the communities, maybe even the children in the communities who are still not used to having queer friends, who are still not used to the LGBT community mingling among them.

Can you maybe tell us what you’ve experienced and how you’ve handled it?

First thing, there was really a proportion coming from the community because most of them will ask, why not boys being involved in the organisation, and why not open it to everybody who are the youth? And we explain it properly. That what we have the Girls Got This community is really open for everybody.

Although there are some specific trainings that is for the girls that are for young women and for everybody, I should say the first challenge that we had was in our digital skills training where both are males, but then they ask there was a quotation saying that men are superior, women are not.

And it feels awkward to have somebody who is not part of the it feels awkward not being part of the norms, like the LGBT community. So when we heard that concern, we raised awareness on SOGIE, on sexual orientation, on gender identity, and the freedom of expression.

So we gave them some training and mentorship to raise awareness of SOGIEs, and it was actually received in a very positive light because male students actually realised that this is gender equality. The bottom line here is giving respect to everybody, giving respect to their fellow students, giving respect to their classmates.

In a sense, we need to give respect. So we are doing it well, I should say now, and they are well received as of the moment, and I hope that it will continue on, although I know there are some setbacks in the coming days or in the coming project implementation.

The Challenges

Yeah, I love that, because most people, when they think of training, employability digital skills. They just think they can get employed, they can get the skills, and then that’s it.

But it’s just a lot more than that, isn’t it? It’s about how do you interact with your peers and how do we give when we say equal opportunities, we really mean equal opportunities. So that means giving them also a perspective on SOGIE and all of this. And that’s why I find FundLife, I find your work very unique in that manner and also very important.

But going back to the challenges in the field while you can and yeah, you’ve mentioned that you’ve successfully given trainings and perspectives on these issues, on SOGI equality and all of these things.

What about coming from the public themselves or maybe the government or maybe the people that you work with? Has there been some who question that? Or maybe even we don’t want to associate ourselves with the LGBT community.

Like, we want to help children in poverty, but we don’t want to support LGBT stuff like that, because I can imagine some people might really or some organisations might really have that perspective.

Have you ever encountered that, and if so, how have you handled it?

Well, fortunately, in our community here in Cebu, there were not a lot of government officials who are questioning why LGBTQIA are involved in our implementation. But though I should say that there are some really challenges in a way that we face during our implementation and engagement.

Because FundLife International is a newly established non government organisation in my city, in Metro City, and some government officials or some committees are actually hesitant the legitimacy, I should say, of our organisation.

Although with the help of local and existing non government organisations in Cebu City, FundLife actually has established its presence in four major cities. I think that is one challenge. When we began our implementation in Cebu.

Well, another challenge that we had was finding a common time for our community mentorship sessions, especially during the pandemic, because the girls and young women were kept at home.

And during those times, it was equally important to us to give reasons and appropriate reasons for the parents to allow these children, to allow these young women and girls and the participants as a whole to convene in certain points in a certain place, in a certain venue.

And another challenge that we also face, especially during the Pandemic, was the focus on child protection and other forms of abuse in the community and knowing when to report to the authorities.

During the pandemic, I should say there are some recorded cases of abuse, and some of our beneficiaries disclose to our youth leaders and to our youth mentors about their experience of abuse at home and in the community and even online. So it was alarming.

And what we did is to properly report the case to the authorities, of course, in collaboration with the social worker and social welfare and with the government. I think those are the major challenges that we faced when we started our implementation.

Child Protection Policy

The issue of abuse, and especially, like, child abuse and also domestic abuse, I’ve heard that that has also increased during the pandemic since people are locked at home and stuff like that. Yeah, you did mention that certain action points, certain action, certain paths that that you take to to handle these cases.

How has it been so far, though? I mean, because, you know, a lot of the time dealing with abuse is is, you know, it’s very tricky, right, because a lot of the time, it’s like, you know, it’s it’s the parents, and then and then maybe the family might might get a backlash.

And then some people might need extra protection than others, but then they might not want to they might want to go back to the family because of certain, I don’t know, guilt or senses of duty or shame or all of these things.

But, yeah, you also manage to help people, to help these children or these other beneficiaries of yours and report them to the authorities and stuff like that. How do you deal with all of these intricacies and subtle challenges that might not really be visible, but they’re there?

Well, it was really part of our child protection policy, and the first thing that we did is to offer confidentiality with our beneficiary and in adherence with the case management that we have, we connect this, let’s say, victim to the proper authority.

And number one that we always adhere is the safety of the child, of the victim, and the readiness of the victim first to file the case or not. But what we really ensure is the safety of the child of the victim, and after that, we support the victim or the child on the case.

Well, we do not actually deal with it directly because it’s beyond our powers. We are limited as an organisation. But what we can actually do is to refer it in a correct referral pathway system. Of course, there are some second hand trauma coming from our mentors, coming from us.

But again, it’s the world that we live in. It’s the advocacy that we believe in and what’s the best thing is to initially support the child and become advocates of these children at the same time, to always look into the best interest of the child, no matter what situation that he or she is in.

Have you ever had cases where these kinds of things, like these kinds of abuses or violence happen, and they needed to be pulled out of the program? Perhaps because that is tragic.

But do you have maybe like contingency plans they can return later?

Yes, as I said earlier, when the child is ready, then we can always accept the child to come back for our program or to continue the program. So we do not just say, all right, this is your situation, we cannot accept you anymore. No, it’s traumatising.

The best thing that we can do is to support the child, whatever he or she is encountering and struggling at the moment. And if he or she is ready to come back, of course we accept him or her. That’s the best way and how we can support the child.

Case Management

I do think that’s like the most optimum approach as well because again, catering to the needs of the catering to the needs of the child and we can’t really force them if they’re in a traumatic situation.

But going back to the dynamics within the community itself and also you mentioned secondhand trauma. You do provide trainings and education on SOGIE equality and stuff like that.

Do you also talk about to talk to your community and the trainers and the mentors on how to handle secondary trauma or how to handle victims of abuse and survivors? Do you have these kinds of mental health infrastructure, I suppose because you did mention that back in the beginning, right?

You handle cases of mental health, which I believe also is very different based on the background and the gender of the victims and the survivors itself. So yeah.

Can you walk us through these subtleties and intricacies of dealing with these challenges?

Yes. So in a way, our organisation and our mentors and project leaders are equipped with knowledge on how to handle abuses and case management. We have our organisational development training which involves trauma informed care. We also have our psychological first aid. At the same time we have our mental health training.

So when situations like this happen and when they encounter forms, when a child is close to them about the kind of difficulties or challenges, then we have specific things and specific protocol to follow. And of course, when a project leader or when a youth mentor discloses his or her difficulties to the organisation. We always respond in a constructive manner.

At the same time, how we can help or aid our youth mentors and our project leaders who are dealing with second hand trauma. So the same thing at how we deal with our children. We ask him or her if he or she is ready for a professional help, but if not, then we do some psychological first aid to our youth mentors and enhance his skills or her skills to handle these kinds of situations if this project leader or youth mentor will experience in the coming future, in the coming days.

So basically, we have our training even before community immersion and implementation, that is to prepare our project leaders and our community volunteers and even youth managers on dealing with these challenges and difficult situations in the community.

Success Stories

Yeah, again, that’s amazing that you really think this through and have this very comprehensive approach to things. Because again, dealing with vulnerable communities, even if the issue is, for example, economic, it’s not just about jobs, it’s not just about employability and all those things, but also about their sense of self, their dignity, and also poverty itself can be very traumatizing and leads to other hosts of problems. So it’s really excellence.

I feel that you have all of these perspectives that you give to the leaders and to the mentors in your work, right?

So let’s talk about the impact. Let’s talk about the impact that you’ve created or maybe some success stories that you feel really proud of because you’ve been going since the organization’s been going for close to a decade now, right?

So what are the impacts and what are the success stories that you’re most proud of?

Well, in the club, and I should say we are very successful in the implementation of our Girls Got This community league or GCL, wherein we use the power of play to educate, to empower and build resilience to our girls and to our kids.

In fact, there have been community leagues in different schools in Tacloban, here in Cebu, we have established different communities where there are already community champions and girl champions who are leading in their specific community.

Let’s just say that coming from a victim to a champion face, let’s have it that way. There are already, let’s say, in employability pathway.

We have already eight graduates with national certification and they are already employed.

And if we talk about our digital skills training, there are girls who are now employed in different industries related to information technology, related to computers, such as PBO Industry and Call Center.

So this impact actually means a lot to us because we started small, but then we are doing great achievements to our beneficiaries, to our girls and to our young women. And we hope that there are some more activities and some more things that we can do and extend.

We do not just think about the organisation, but we see to it that we were able to answer the needs and challenges of our communities. And basically in the coming future, we can expand our programs not just in Tacloban, not just in Cebu, but hopefully in different parts of the Philippines.

Future Plans

Yeah, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about your future plans, because it’s definitely very impactful. I can imagine.

And as you mentioned, the fact that you can bring people from a state of from becoming a victim to becoming a champion and just giving back to their community and just helping other people who are in their old position and then coming to the point of being another champion and moving forward to the future like that.

That in itself is a very strong vision for the future. But I wanted to ask if you have any other very specific things you wanted to do, because you did mention you wanted to expand.

Do you see yourself expanding in terms of adding more cities, as you mentioned, but also maybe programs that you’re looking to do, maybe cities beyond the Philippines to the rest of Southeast Asia? Yeah.

Tell us a bit more about that vision that you have.

Well, what we have at the moment is one, since we are an organisation who is focused on play, we wanted to create, of course, a football team in indifferent parts of the Philippines. And that’s for gender inclusivity.Well, most of us, we have our girls Community League.

Another thing is that we are planning to expand on digital skills training, not just here in Cebu, but in different cities. Well, what we are looking at the moment is creating safe spaces, creating a space for girls, for the youth to interact, to share at the same time, to do some activities such as play or whatever. Activities that they can just convene and become safe. I think this is one thing that is really lacking in our city.

There are few learning hops where girls can convene with each other, where in the youth can play not just basketball or that is very common here in the Philippines, but some other things that they can do. And that’s what we envision, creating a safe space, a safe city for every youth and for every children to basically share and continue.

So basically creating a safe city for the youth and for everyone to convene and share their ideas.

Girls Community League

Yeah, that’s a beautiful vision, creating a safe space in all of these various, various cities. I do feel that it would really be very impactful to children and also to their future.

We haven’t really touched upon the Girls Community League and the play elements of FundLife, which I feel the listeners might be a bit confused. So maybe we can talk a little bit more about that before going back to the plans for the future.

We’re talking about the girls community league, right? Yeah, so our GCL or our Girls Community League, started in Tacloban last February 2019, with its positive result that was later on launch in Cebu through a strong partnership of a football club here in Cebu.

Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, the Cebu Football League is actually postponed, but we are trying to relaunch it this year. Now, the project launch in 2019 currently reaches over 450 girls. Through regular sessions, we have festivals and learning curriculum.

The GCL or the Girls Community League, supports an action led movement to reach the UN SDG, or social development goal and empower 1 million we’re hoping empower 1 million girls by 2030 through equitable access to participation and opportunity. With that, the GCL actually looking into breaking the cycle of poverty in different ways.

One is the purposeful play, wherein giving girls access to equal participation because everybody thinks that football is just for boys. But then we are fostering gender equity by allowing girls to interact and to play football. And that’s removing basically cultural stereotypes.

Another thing is commitment to education. Well, we have our partnership with Department of Education and different agencies where schools participate in different football leagues. So it requires stay in school commitments from players and their guardians and involving teachers to be part of the football league.

And we also have our role model academy that is using football champions and local role models to inspire girls to believe in themselves.

Lastly, we have our real opportunity for the girls by connecting these girls with mentors, with players who are professional players. They are given pathways to real skills training and basically, in the coming days, dignified employment if they want to get into the employability pathway. But as a whole, we are using the power of play to educate these young girls and to break the cycle of poverty.

Yeah, that’s beautiful because I do think that not a lot of people realise how much play and how much sports can really boost someone’s sense of dignity and confidence, especially when you add in the element of gender equality there. I think that can be really powerful.

So, yeah, it’s amazing work that you do. You’re very comprehensive, very well thought out in all of these multiple dimensions, gender equality, mental health and all of these sorts of things. And you have, like, a really beautiful vision there, moving forward to the future, creating safe spaces and safe cities and all of these things.

So I guess for the last question is that I do believe that a lot of the listeners here will be moved to help to support you, support your initiative, support FundLife. And what can they do? What can the listeners do, what can. The public do to participate in your initiatives, to support your initiatives, to support the vision that you have?

Well, they can visit our website, FundLife.org or justice. We have a series of activities in there where they can become volunteers one way or another. Well, I should also say that change always begin within us.

And to create this, we need to become more involved in social issues. And the listeners could actually just acknowledge and be aware of what is happening around us, not just in the Philippines and all over the world or in a global arena.

One thing raise awareness. Let’s create an educated society, especially on issues that involve child protection, girl and women empowerment, and gender equity or equality. Finally become role models, I hope and promote values formation, inculcating values for our holistic growth and development of a child. Create safe spaces, more safe spaces for the children and to the youth.

And finally, I think we can always stop each other and become agent of change in our own little ways. And yes, if they really want to follow us and become involved, please do not hesitate to give us a message, FundLife.org and GirlsGotThis.org.

That’s beautiful, Thank you so much, Angel.

OUTRO

And that wraps up our discussion with Marie Angelique Villamor. What I find most valuable in our discussion is FundLife’s comprehensive and holistic approach to empowering children to dream.

The pandemic is not just about health. Poverty is not just about a lack of employment. It’s about dignity and self-worth. It’s about surviving harm and abuse. It’s about doing the hard work of trauma recovery and adapting a lens of feminism, gender equality, and SOGIE awareness in your daily life.

FundLife has a beautiful vision for the future: Enabling children to dream in colour, building safe spaces in every city. If you’d like to support them make this vision come true, you can learn more about them and get involved via their websites, FundLife.org and GirlsGotThis.org.

My name is Bonnibel Rambatan, and this has been Southeast Asia Dispatches. Brought to you by New Naratif, and produced by Dania Joedo. I’ll see you around.

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  1. Hey there! Came across your post on the WordPress feed and couldn’t resist saying hello. I’m already hooked and eagerly anticipating more captivating posts. Can’t seem to find the follow button, haha! Guess I’ll have to bookmark your blog instead. But rest assured, I’ll be keeping an eye out for your updates!

    Thanks – TheDogGod