Our Common Purpose

11“No man is an island,” as the old adage goes. It implies that no one is assumed to go through life and its densities completely alone. However, as time progress and ideas and opinions abound on how one must go through such densities, we get isolated, separated from one another. In the assertion that our idea is what is right and what can be, we also assert that other people’s idea must be wrong and cannot be. We become divided. We turn into a metaphorical archipelago, with a vast sea of spiteful differences in between each and every one of us.

This is why wars are waged, why certain debates never reach a conclusive resolution, and why we are in a constant state of conflict as human beings. We put overwhelming primacy on our own beliefs, ideas, and potentials, without recognizing other’s inherent right to have them too. We are too quick to lambast other people for simply having differing stances, without considering that the same human experiences and sensibilities bred their stance. This is what we must acknowledge if we ever intend to move forward, and we must start acknowledging soonest we can.

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For the kids of Silid Aralan Inc., such an opportunity came in the form of WYAAP’s Sulong Workshop. This was our third time this year to conduct the workshop, and this was to be our last session with them. We spent one whole Saturday to learn the value of solidarity, in the proper use of our freedom, and how it should be upheld to safeguard our human dignity. Throughout, they were enlightened about how each person can contribute significantly as long as we recognize that our same advocacies will always trump our divergences. They learned that greater unities can be built upon communication, inner peace, understanding, and love.

I would like to believe that this event is a lesson of solidarity in itself; that these are children, hailing from different backgrounds, different upbringings, different families, who chose to come together one weekend to know how to work better in solidarity. To make the event even more meaningful, our friends from UP Children’s Rights Advocates League (UP CRAdLe) and De La Salle University – Student Catholic Action (DLSU SCA) were more than willing to help a hand, highlighting the value of solidarity even more.

Much has already been said about setting aside our differences as persons to conquer the ends we want, but I’d like to believe the challenge being presented here is nuanced: that, because we are the youth, we are encouraged to learn as early as possible about the importance of compassion, understanding, and self-gift to others. We are only just beginning to meet people, and it is ideal that we start soonest so that we view them and their ideas with respect to the dignity they have – the dignity that we all have. At the same time that we are honing our knowledge, we are also honing our principles, and the earlier we start, the more people we get to touch, to understand, to work with towards better solutions for all. It is in this respect that time is definitely of the essence.

This urgent matter only calls for the most hands to pitch in. That is why we express our gratitude to Silid Aralan Inc. and our partners from UP CrAdLE and DLSU SCA for partaking in our event. Indeed, this is the picture we are all trying to paint: the youth helping the youth, and a world whose people are willing to look beyond differences to fulfill a common purpose.

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Written by Viktor Austria, current intern at the WYA Asia Pacific office. Interested to partner with WYAAP for a youth program? E-mail us at asiapacific@wya.net.