Manila, Philippin es
The participants were introduced to several outstanding individuals who are also Ramon Magsaysay Award (often referred to as the Nobel Prize of Asia) recipients, and one of them was 63-year-old Antonio Meloto, the man behind the “work with the poor” NGO, Gawad Kalinga (which means “giving care” in Tagalog).
Meloto, or Tito Tony, as he is affectionally referred to, had risen from the squatters of Bacolod city in the Philippines to attend the Ateneo de Manila University on a scholarship, eventually carving a successful career for himself in the printing business.
Happily married with five kids, Meloto was living a comfortable life as an upper middle class citizen, but he could not forget the squalid environment he grew up in, as well as the thousands, if not millions, of people who are still living in poverty and struggling to survive.
In 1995, Meloto embarked on his dream to help the underprivileged by founding Gawad Kalinga with a vision that the Philippines would become a first world nation by 2024.
Nineteen years later, thanks to Meloto and his team’s hard work, Gawad Kalinga has built communities across the Philippine archipelago and is referred to by locals as the most trusted NGO in the nation.
However, it wasn’t all smooth-sailing for Meloto. When he first started the project, there were doubters who asked, “Why would one invest in a land and let ex-convicts build homes on it?” Meloto, of course, proved them wrong. Corporations donated, people volunteered and Gawad Kalinga became a worldwide movement that has positively affected other countries like Papua New Guinea and Australia.
The youth summit provided an avenue for the participants to collaborate and learn and on the final day of the summit, the participants produced ideas for innovative projects that will not only benefit their respective countries but the region as well.
On top of that, they also designed a framework to sustain the Asean youth network in years to come.
For more information on the LEAD Asean Youth Summit, visit facebook. com/LEADASEANYouthSummit. FOR many years, young Malaysians have lamented
the way they do not have a say in how the country is
run. Well, that excuse will not be valid come April next year.
Now, with the establishment of the first Youth Parliament in the country, Malaysian youth will have the opportunity to not only share their views, but
also that of the young people in their area to the government and service providers.
The Youth Parliament, which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2011, already has over 70,000 registered voters and is expected
to accommodate over 200,000 voters by the end of the first quarter of 2014.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said at a recent session in Dewan Rakyat that the Youth Parliament will encourage political open-mindedness among the youth, and is certainly not bound to any political parties or affiliations.
He said the main objective of setting up the parliament is to encourage young people to get involved
in the nation’s parliamentary democracy system and
is not targeted at nurturing political leanings.
Khairy added that he wishes the young people involved in the Youth Parliament have impartial minds, and to be able to debate on any topic with no political bias. The Malaysian Youth Parliament will be one of
the over 30-plus youth parliaments active around the world, and it’s aim is to act as a channel for young
people to air their views and opinions pertaining to youths as well as create a platform for youth leadership. This will also create an opportunity for current
leaders to gain insight to youth lifestyle and trends.
The Malaysian Youth Parliament is currently open voters registration, through which its 191 representatives will be selected next year. Malaysian citizens aged 15 to 40 are eligible to
register as voters, although Youth Parliament members
must be between 18 and 30 years old.
The representatives will be selected based on states and not the number of parliamentary constituencies
in the country.
Khairy reasoned that the decision was made because there are some parliamentary constituencies with
less than 50 registered voters, thus making the fair representation of the Malaysian youth seem inaccurate.
The nominations for Youth Parliament representatives will be in February while the first sitting is tentatively scheduled for April next year.
The criteria to select a Youth Parliament representative includes debating, leadership skills, participation
in community-based programmes and, of course, a clean criminal record.
Candidates must also have a wide knowledge in local, social, economic and international issues.
Voting will be carried out online simultaneously nationwide, with an independent consultant assigned through open tender to audit the Youth Parliament votes next year.
Go to www.parlimenbelia.gov.my to register as a voter and/or to nominate a Youth Parliament representative.