“A ROAD TO CHANGE”
As part of the two-year-long “Change Agent” project, this year I participated in two trainings, together with young, energetic leaders coming from many different countries. After the intensive short training in Switzerland which was a great introduction to what came next, a bigger challenge followed. What followed was the “road to change” through Southeast Asia. We were sailing from Japan to Singapore, spending two days in the Philippines. “Peace Boat” was our home for ten days, and the training was mainly conducted on the Boat. We had presentations and workshops on various topics, such as leadership, lobbying, communication skills, strategic planning, problem/conflict solving, risk assessment and many others, but we learned the most from each other during the working groups and our free time. Being at the same place together with 150 young people from all over the world is a treasure trove of information and experiences!
As an addition to the theoretical part we had on the Boat, we had an unforgettable practical experience on the Philippines. We were greeted as a royal family, we had a chance to hang out and exchange ideas with young people at the Talisay City College, we had a cultural evening where everyone had a chance to represent themselves with something characteristic for their countries, we had a chance to help feeding homeless people, something that the local YMCA does on a regular basis, we visited a rehab center, a women’s organization that makes handmade products from recycled material, and also we had an organized tour of the city of Cebu. It was good to see that the Philippines is not just a dream destination for vacation, but that many people there live in dilapidated houses, there are homeless children on every corner, almost every year they suffer some natural disaster, but still, there is such joy and love in those people that makes you think what really matters in life.
However, it was unforgettable, the new contacts will stay, but the trip already passed. Now we are expected to show what we learned, and to implement projects that will be beneficial for our community. Next year we have another global gathering where we are expected to present the achievements. I hope that I and the other “Change Agent”, Ivana, will have what to be proud of!
There is also a photo gallery of the event here, courtesy of the World YMCA.