what is acceptable and what is normal. Changing people’s minds about deeplyrooted, potentially harmful beliefs and traditions is a tough job, indeed. While listening to criticism and opposition can be helpful, you have to know the difference between the voices that oppress and the voices that are unjustly suppressed. Be that voice for the latter, and you’ll be all right. How do you know if it’s a worthy cause? Bear in mind that the ultimate goal of a nonprofit organization should be to close shop, because real change happens when communities become less and less dependent on external assistance or coercion and more selfsufficient and empowered to make wise decisions about their lives. In other words, you’ll know you’ve done a good job when people stop needing your help.
Three years ago, I set out on an adventure to Palawan to teach and empower. I left, learning more about myself and what more I could do to help those in the fringes of society. My frustrations and joys doing development work eventually led me to decide to revisit a childhood dream I abandoned after I left university and life happened: I decided to go to law school, so I can be better equipped to fight for the rights of those who cannot do it for themselves.
I set out to change the world, one barangay and one classroom at a time. But in the end, it was the world, every barangay, and every classroom that I taught in, that ultimately changed me. ◼
Readytopush the pedals of change?