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Young people’s hope and confidence shine during Philippines trip

Posted 09 October 2019 in EMpower News, Grantee Partner News   |   Share

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In September, EMpower traveled to the Philippines to visit four grantee partner organizations, accompanied by a group of Board Directors and Donors.

The visits were informative and inspiring, as young people shared confidence and hope in their futures. Board Directors and Donors had the opportunity to experience issues from the grantee partners’ perspective, hear about project updates and challenges from the grantee partner teams, and interact directly with the young people.

At Bahay Tuluyan, the group traveled with the young people through the communities they grew up in. The youth participants shared how urban redevelopment is changing their neighborhoods, as many of them live in small units housing multi-generational families with the streets as their playground. Through grantee partner Bahay Tuluyan, the youth have found a safe space and structured pathway to growth and role models. With the skills they are learning, some of them are now supporting Bahay Tuluyan’s social enterprise initiatives including organic farming and running a guest house. Today, 11% of Bahay Tuluyan operating revenue is generated from their social enterprise arm, and it looks to grow it to 30% in the coming years.

Virlanie Foundation supports young people living in residential care with skills training, education and career guidance, so that the young people can live independently as self-sustaining adults after leaving care.

During the visit to grantee partner ZOTO, guests visited the informal settlement at Sawata (Tondo) where they were enchanted by a street play put together by the young people of ZOTO. The play highlighted the social issues commonly faced by families living in Tondo - poverty, adolescent pregnancy, abandonment, abuse and relocation from their homes. Song and dance compositions demonstrated the impact that ZOTO has acheived at the individual and community level.

Grantee partner Roots of Health reaches students in public high schools in and around Puerto Princesa, providing sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS education as well as teacher training. To reach more young people, youth are trained as peer educators to reach out to their peers. These youth leaders shared candidly their passion for educating and plans to grow their impact in their communities and universities.

Thank you to all trip participants, and to grantee partner staff and young people for a memorable and thought-provoking visit!

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