Passion of Youth in Social Development

Sunrise at Mt. Telakawe, Pampanga-Tarlac border, Central Luzon, Philippines. Freedom Climb 2011 with Jamboree Mountaineers. Photo Joanna Lerio.

Sunrise at Mt. Telakawe, Pampanga-Tarlac border, Central Luzon, Philippines. Photo taken during Jamboree Mountaineers’ Freedom Climb 2011. Photo Joanna Lerio.

What can you do at age 16? The death of Filipino youth Kristel Tejada has created a phenomenon urging education policy makers to listen to a poverty stricken populace albeit at the expense of one’s own dear life.





While such tragedy pre-rehearsed in experiential daily crisis disturbed and shocked us, Tejada’s fellow students and youth now find cause in her sacrificial goodbye last 15th of March 2013.

It awakened us because suicide may be an option for rich countries Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, South Korea, Russia and United Kingdom but not for the Philippines. Like other poor countries, our people are known as fighters in the midst of hardship and indecent living conditions brought about by senseless bureaucracy.

However, the sustainability of youthful energy for dramatic social development remains challenged.

How can the youth effect positive change when they are economically incapacitated, politically stunted and culturally repressed?

Where passion is innate among us, education can amplify our collective capacity for analysis, criticism and action to contribute in national and global growth. However, since education’s colonial birth in the Philippines, its constant tenet has been to allow progress for only a privileged few. Socialized tuition in state universities is an epic fail as it only encourages forced Leave of Absence (LOA) or the perpetual school non-admission of the majority poor instead of compensating scholars among all needy students from families of taxi drivers, vendors, farmers, factory workers, construction workers, migrant workers and government employees.

Youth population is composed of dependents and non-dependents. It is a reality that even at young age, many do labor to sustain and finish their own education while the more fortunate have resources that they can actually share directly to their fellows. In the absence of sincere political will from the government and national banks to invest for the country’s hope, the youth can support each other through a united youth fund initiative that combines wealth appropriation and conscience-based entrepreneurship. This can address the gap in the number of graduates and the work force. This can also prevent the mishap in debt sentence.

Representation in parliament, university board of regents, school councils and community formations are avenues for youth in placing to the fore of discussion and implementation the youth agenda, programs and problem resolutions. For the coming national election in May, voter’s education has been facilitated by youth in different areas of the metropolis and provinces as an optimistic venture for a politics of change, good governance and accountability.

Meanwhile, where education is inaccessible, self-education is an option. Instead of being fettered by the clutches of norms, the youth can invest their time and effort in studying society and the world at large. Advancement in information technology has made it possible for the youth to engage with fellow citizens and influence justice-based decisions of authorities through blog writing, new media production, online shouts and other innovations.

History is a testament of the youth’s role in transforming the tides of the time. In every golden age, there is the youth who either leads or provokes school of thoughts and social directions.  Teens, students, out-of-school youth, young workers and hippie professionals are a great resource of intellect and vibrancy that may radiate to other sectors.

From here, when the youth is empowered as engineers of social development and join force with the rest of actors in society portraying their role in all passion, the Earth is then worth living.#

About Joanna Lerio

cultural journalist, multidisciplinary artist, educator, traveller, dreamer, yogini, vegetarian, advocate
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