On a blissful day, scrolling through Twitter, I came in contact with the World Youth Alliance. Intrigued at the prospect of being identified with an NGO that stands firm behind human dignity and the family, I went on to sign the Charter. Although at the time I knew nothing of human dignity, I only knew what the word dignity connotes. I had zero idea about the incredible journey I was about to begin.
Upon becoming a member, I applied for the Certified Training Program (CTP) and after my interview, I was accepted. At that moment I knew I had to commit fully to the CTP. I had my interview with our Regional Director of Operations, Mr. Kevin Alando, who was the teacher for my CTP class and is still an epitome of encouragement to me.
Reading the various chapters of the CTP on a weekly basis always intrigued me by how much I learnt and most importantly how little I knew. I always learnt something new each week. From the first reading “Before 1999 and the WYA”, I was shocked as I read about population control, which prior to this was an ideology only in science fiction movies for me. Targeted policies at developing countries aimed at achieving this aim made me realize that the WYA is truly a place for me. From that day I was never looking back, I had finally found a cause I could devote my time to other than my area of study. Reading from I and Thou by Martin Buber and Men Without Chests by C.S Lewis and a whole lot of CTP materials always had a relevant impact on my personal life. The world had moved into a shell due to the pandemic and the reading of H.H the Dalai Lama’s Our Global Family was an epiphany about how truly small and connected we all were.
Upon concluding the CTP, I applied for the Advocacy Academy in early 2021 and was accepted. Here I was introduced to the White Papers, all were mind blowing. From papers on Reproductive Health to Maternal Health and finally, Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, I was perplexed, intrigued and deeply concerned. The policies I thought were good medical interventions I then realized were just gross violations of human dignity. Women are valued for their reproductive system not their inherent dignity while children are seen as items to be bought or acquired as a coveted commodity. I read and learnt how firsthand the push for abortion and contraceptives as family planning is disguised and portrayed as caring for the woman and her family.
The intersection of my profession and WYA is also notable. As a biochemist, I always thought surrogacy was a medical miracle, an “act of god”, or a gift to couples who couldn’t have children. But on reading the White Paper, I realized how dehumanizing the whole thing was, a violation of our inalienable dignity. The Advocacy Academy made me realize the need to examine closely policies that affected me as an individual first and then a professional.
Growing up a kid I always had a knack for sciences. Seeing crops decay in large quantities due to poor storage or processing facilities made me want to “create crops that don’t decay” speaking with educational counselors and describing my passion of science I was encouraged to study biochemistry as It offered a broader view of what I was passionate about (plant biotechnology). In the future, my Masters program, working in a research laboratory as well as knowledge from WYA obtained from both the CTP and Advocacy Academy will help me navigate areas in sciences like human cloning and genetic engineering and uphold the tenets of human dignity.
My journey with WYA is ongoing. I boarded the train to respect human dignity, to recognize the family as the fundamental unit of society and to immerse in a social climate that fosters the integral development of the human person. I call on you to do the same and sign the Charter.
Published: June 5, 2021
Written by: Gideon Vision Olufeagba, a current WYA Headquarters Online Intern from Nigeria