I was blessed and lucky that I am the representative of my country for this prestigious event. At first, I was hesitant to accept the invitation. When my Executive Director told me that I would be representing our organization for this event and most especially it will be held in “Thailand”. when I heard that, my heart beat faster. I don’t know what I felt on that day, I guess it’s a mixed feeling of shocked, excitement and nervous. Shocked because it was a short notice its just 4 days before the event. Excitement because I will meet knew friends, new learning’s from different countries and off course I get to go to Thailand although its not my first time. Nervous because I don’t have a clue if what is the main agenda of the event. All I know is that there are youth representative from different countries.
But despite of the feelings I felt before, when I met the other representative from Philippines, in just an hour we click each other. We had different characteristics and style but we had one in common we are the PEACE Advocates in our place of origin. I am so thankful for Dallah, Princess Jurfaidah and Ate Ayyi for the fantastic bonding, new friendship and new experienced, we know that its just a short days but we will keep in touch when we go back to our places and continue to share what we’ve learned in the Youth Unite 2.0.
Youth Unite 2.0 it’s a wonderful experienced. It is not stressful; all participants are free and not forced to share what’s on our mind, opinion, thoughts during the discussion. Every discussion is interesting and language barrier is not a problem.
In Youth Conference I gained more knowledge on the different context of each country. I’ve learned that there are still countries that are not opened minded of what’s new in our society and there are countries that the rights of women are still not addressed. In the Philippines it’s been consistent in its effort to achieve equality between men and women. We have adopted laws that protect women against domestic violence, action plans that support gender mainstreaming, and we continue to take specific measures to improve the actual situation of women.
What I like in this event is how we explored labels, identities, stereotype and diversity because I really dislike how we have all grown up to know and believe gender stereotypes of both women and men. It’s 2015 and the fact that I still hear things like “that’s only for girls” or “only guys can do that” make me so irritated and upset. I don’t think gender should determine what you can and can’t do.
People are far too complex to be hindered by such labels. Women can be bigger providers then men all they want. Women can be muscular and athletic. Women don’t need to have a family. Men can nurture. Men can be stay at home as dad’s. Men don’t need to be macho alpha males. Life’s too short not to do what you want.
For me, the highlight of the event is when we had a cooking challenge, there so many stereotypes that we broke. Like “Cooking is the work of women not men.” Well in our group we had 1 man he is from Afghanistan and in their place Men is not doing what women do like cooking so he don’t know how to cook even doing market. But in our challenge he has no hesitation to help us, he volunteered his self-if what can he do. After the challenge I asked him what is the feeling? He just told me that he learned so many things and he is very happy that we had a challenge like that. The learning’s for this challenge is the equality of everyone. There is no such thing that men can’t do what women can do and viz-a-viz.
I think the most important learning’s for this event is to VALUE and RESPECT each other’s unique IDENTITIES.
Lastly, Big thank you to the Facilitators who shared their expertise and knowledge, to the coordinator of the event Ms. Praew who exerted her effort to handle us and lastly to my new friends from different country (Afghanistan, Lebanon, Jordan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh) thank you for sharing your experiences and new friendship. See you all in FACEBOOK:) hehehehe