Al­ways dreamed of mak­ing a dif­fer­ence? No other gen­er­a­tion has been more driven to im­prove the plight of oth­ers than mil­len­ni­als. For­mer Cosmo in­tern Amie Perez joined an NGO to do just that. Here, she de­liv­ers the low­down on ev­ery­thing you need to know t

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Need To Know -

A woman pounds on her key­board at the speed of light. Her ear­phones do the talk­ing for her: Don’t talk to me, I’m busy. In the next room are three young pro­fes­sion­als. One of them sorts out of­fice sup­plies and cuts up pieces of pa­per. The sec­ond counts con­doms. I'm the third, and I take a step back and ob­serve ev­ery­one. I tell my­self, This is change. This is where it starts, this is where it all hap­pens.

It's been go­ing on long be­fore we had the most di­vi­sive, meme-fu­elled na­tional elec­tions. More than one per­son be­ing ex­pected to bring change, thou­sands of tire­less, hard­work­ing peo­ple have been in the busi­ness of bring­ing pos­i­tive change to a coun­try that badly needs it. None of us had to wear Span­dex and capes; none of us had to wield weapons chas­ing bad guys around town. And nei­ther do you, if you want to go down the path of chang­ing the world. Three years ago, I de­cided to move to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, to work for a non-gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion (NGO) called Roots of Health, lo­cally known as Ugat­ngkalusugan. My job de­scrip­tion en­tailed teach­ing young girls and boys about sex­ual and re­pro­duc­tive health, in re­sponse to the high teen preg­nancy rates and the grow­ing num­ber of cases of sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions in the area.

What­ever cause you wish to cham­pion, work­ing for it can be ful­fill­ing yet frus­trat­ing, chal­leng­ing yet some­times mind-numb­ing, in­spir­ing yet dis­il­lu­sion­ing. Here are a few lessons I learned while try­ing to be a full-time mod­ern-day rank-and­file su­per­hero. COS­MOPOLI­TAN JULY 2016


A typ­i­cal day in the life of a hu­man­i­tar­ian worker doesn’t al­ways look as glam­orously gritty as it does in po­lit­i­cal ad mon­tages. It’s not al­ways as the­atri­cal as peo­ple tak­ing to the streets to over­throw an op­pres­sive regime. It’s not as photo-op-wor­thy as An­gelina Jolie hang­ing out with refugee kids, or Emma Wat­son mak­ing a rous­ing speech for the United Na­tions. It can, at times, be just as bor­ing as any other of­fice job, since most projects are planned, de­vel­oped, and eval­u­ated at con­fer­ence ta­bles, reg­u­lar of­fice desks, or next to a pho­to­copy­ing ma­chine.

In non­profit work, es­pe­cially in smaller, grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tions, one’s job isn’t al­ways lim­ited to what­ever you signed up for. I signed up to teach sex ed­u­ca­tion, which I al­ways thought was su­per cool. How­ever, I also ended up watch­ing over and teach­ing tod­dlers while their moth­ers at­tended ma­ter­nal health classes. I also taught fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy classes, pre­sented in a con­fer­ence, pro­duced a ra­dio show, fig­ured out how to in­put for­mu­las on spread­sheets, pho­to­copied and cut ques­tion­naires, dealt with brownouts and wa­ter short­ages, an­swered text mes­sages, re­ceived the oc­ca­sional ser­mon from my bosses…the list went on.

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