…but re­mem­ber:

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Need To Know -

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?

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