I am passionate aboutI am most passionate about sustainable development - particularly in the
fields of education and peace. I believe that our nations, our communities
and our world cannot truly progress without an educated people living without
fear of terrorism and conflict.
I am passionate about peace because I am a Filipino "hybrid". My mother is a
Muslim from an ethnic tribe in the island of Sulu and my father is a Catholic
from Zamboanga province. Growing up, my parents taught me that love and
understanding can be nurtured even in the presence of two religions. They
taught me to value the similarities between these two great religions, and to
understand the differences.
However, I saw that the peace I found in my home was difficult to replicate
outside of our family. In Zamboanga, Sulu and nearby islands in the Southern
region of the Philippines, I grew up hearing news about conflicts between
Christians and Muslims. I grew up finding out about the crimes of religious
extremists not just in the Philippines but also in the ASEAN region and the
world. This is why I value the possibility of peace in the world - if it is
possible in my home, it is definitely possible outside of it.
I am passionate about education because, since I was 12 years old, I have
been studying under full scholarships paid for by the taxes of the Filipino
people. If it were not for these scholarships, I would not be who I am today.
I would not be a productive, driven and informed member of society.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for millions of people in the world who
still do not have access to education. Without it, they cannot realize their
full potential and achieve their goals.
Education and peace work together to enable people. With more efforts
directed towards educating and promoting unity and peace (such as One Young
World), I am optimistic that we can empower more people to create and sustain
positive cycles of change.
ActionsTo pursue my passion for peace and education, I have been the Overall Head of
a non-profit organization called KRIS Library since 2011. KRIS Library is
short for Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library (or Christian-Muslim Peace Library).
KRIS Library provides opportunities for young people in the Philippines to
promote peace and to access education.
We have now built 6 libraries in poor and conflicted areas in the
Philippines. The communities we serve include slum areas, suspected terrorist
camps and mixed cultural communities. Each library provides books, computers
and educational resources that are not usually found in these areas. Each
library has, over the years, become a hub where Muslim and Christian children
come to read together, learn together, study together and make lasting
Each library hosts numerous activities for the children. These activities are
facilitated by volunteers who have come prominently from Vietnam, Malaysia,
Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and other Asian countries. We have also
had volunteers from Europe and Africa. Through this volunteer program, we aim
to expose our kids to more cultures to encourage in them the openness that is
necessary for peace.
Aside from our libraries, we have also started a Scholarship Program for the
underprivileged children we serve. We have provided nearly 400 scholarship
grants in the past 4 years. Just this year, seven students from our first
batch of scholars graduated from their respective universities through our
Moreover, we have also sent at least 50,000 books over the years to public
schools in remote communities - especially in far-flung islands of the
Philippines. Our books come from generous donors from the Philippines and the
Though I have principally lead KRIS Library, these accomplishments would not
be possible without the lasting support of many volunteers, donors, partners
and friends. For more information, please visit www.krislibrary.com.