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Meet Two Voices of Hope Citizen Journalists in Action

Rising Voices grantee project update

Photo courtesy of Voices of Hope

Photo courtesy of Voices of Hope

Days fly so fast. Typhoons come and go. Yet, people of Estancia remain with no one to turn to except from people who truly care. Voices of Hope – From Victims to Activism, a citizen’s journalism project of Rising Voices is one among the groups that truly cares for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in Estancia, Iloilo.

They are the first ever citizen’s journalism group of fifteen young leaders ages 18 to 23 who are survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in Estancia. All of them are college students of Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College in Estancia, Iloilo willing to make the extra mile to be a part of a social movement for change. We invited them through recommendation of our youth organization, by friends through text, personal invitations and one just dropped by to see his friend in one of the group sessions on citizen’s journalism.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Photo courtesy of Voices of Hope

Photo courtesy of Voices of Hope

One of the participants is described as young, dynamic and very vocal youth leader of a newly formed youth organization “Samahang Demokratiko ng Bagong Kabataan (Democratic Organization of the Modern Youth).” She is fondly called by many as Twinkle, which is her real name as well. Currently she is a graduating student of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

When I was invited to join the training, I accepted it without any doubt. I felt honored I was the first one being offered to join the training. I invited others too to join us. What an inspiration to be the voice of the voiceless!

Twinkle’s empowering and persuasive voice is always look forward every Saturday and Sunday over the radio in our “People’s Pulse” radio program all over Estancia and neighboring towns. Together with her radio partner JC, Twinkle always talked about issues of youth, environment and women.

“Being youth and daughters and sons of our parents, it is also our responsibility to help our parents and our community to rise up against all forms of social injustices,” as she graciously spoke during the oil spill congressional site investigation rally last October 7 in Estancia and was applauded several times by the community.

At age 20, Twinkle is a star sparkling brightly as young as she is, illuminating the darkness brought about by Typhoon Haiyan through citizen’s journalism and activism. She is the leader of the citizen’s journalists group.

Eric John : A Blessing in Disguise

Eric John, 20 years-old and a Fourth Year Business Administration college student of NIPSC. He just dropped by the office to see a friend in one of the group sessions on citizen’s journalism. It happened that he heard the discussion and got interested. He sat-in for the whole session. Voila! It opened his eyes to the reality. He said:

People are traumatized of Typhoon Yolanda. Even just for an ordinary rainfall, they get nervous. It’s almost a year yet recovery is stagnant but the people’s resiliency is so amazing! They are trying so hard to get over despite absence of government’s support. I want to help remove their blindfolds for them to see the light and the truth for the better future.

Eric John is a student writer and a former president of the Supreme Student Council of the college. It’s a blessing in disguise to have him in the group.

Twinkle and Eric John are among the fifteen youth citizen's journalist trainees who are committed to give voice to the thousands of Typhoon Yolanda survivors. I can feel the hope and the confidence of a better future as I talked with them and watched them grow as an activist. They dared to defy whatever discouragements from people who opted to be blind and deaf to the social realities.

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