Defender in Training

Although I have only been an intern for World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP) for three weeks, it has definitely changed the way I view and act upon the world and the people around me. To be honest, my work expectations definitely do not match up to what I am doing and feeling right now as an intern. Before my internship started, I always thought – “Wow, I can’t wait to start working for a non-government organization (NGO) like WYA because it feels like I’m about to change the world.”

As an economics major, I have always been interested in doing development work that involves improving the lives of people, especially the poor. Upon hearing about the WYA internship program, I knew that it would be a perfect avenue for me to pursue my passion. What really inspired me about the organization was how it was able to bring the youth together in doing something so purposeful such as defending the dignity of the human person. Don’t get me wrong – of course all NGOs do something of value like that of WYA, depending on what their advocacy is. But what really drew me to WYA was how they put the human person in the center of their work, and defending the most important thing – each person’s intrinsic dignity.

Since I am a part-time intern, I am not given as much workload as the full-time interns do. So far, the work that I have done for WYA hasn’t exactly “changed the world,” but I’d like to think that they are baby-steps to this goal of mine. Despite this, I am learning a lot about how things work in a non-government institution, and applying the skills I have attained in my past experiences in school organizations to the work that I do. Out of my experiences and learnings here in WYA, it is the Certified Training Program (CTP) that has impacted me the most. Prior to learning in depth the core of WYA’s advocacies, the concept of human dignity has always been important to me, but I never understood it as deeply as WYA has taught me so far.

Human dignity, although everyone has it,  is exactly what makes each person special. With a passion for human development, learning about human dignity has given me so much more reason to pursue this track. The concept of human dignity plays such a big role, not just with day-to-day experiences with people, but in a bigger picture like that of policies that our governments implement. I hope to be able to share all the lessons I learned in the CTP to my friends, especially to those who don’t realize how valuable each person’s value is. In the future, I hope to play big role by influencing policymakers to put WYA’s advocacy at the core of their policies and spreading and defending the advocacies of WYA to international institutions.

After the three weeks of my internship, I’d have to say I haven’t changed the world yet. In fact, I am probably far away from this goal, but despite this, I know I am on the right path with WYA. More than anything, I am proud to call myself a #DignityDefender.

Written by Fatima de Pano, a current intern at the WYAAP office. Application for our second batch of the internship is now open! Check www.wya.net/apinternships to find out more.