Nine Cebuano youths are going to Europe on April 21 to May 13 as this year’s delegates to the 5th Young Minds on eXplore (YMX5), an exchange program that aims to provide an avenue for them to better understand European culture and their own.
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The three-week youth exchange and immersion program in the Netherlands and in Belgium is also intended to promote knowledge sharing, cross-cultural understanding, people-to-people connection, and development service, and likewise aims to nurture a deeper sense of nationalism among participants.
The nine participants are Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Young Minds Academy alumni and members of Club Mega. They are Pamela Jude M. Gonzales, Lorraine Mitzi Ambrad, Michaela Jaycel L. Dolores, Lord Anjelo T. Guia, John Nicko Macapaz Coyoca, Glenna Lyrad Quilat, Carmel Amigable, Arianwen Rollan, and Adam Mahkail Dicdican. They would be accompanied by Central Visayas Network of NGOs’ (CENVISNET) Marlon and RAFI’s Jenny Lea Tan as adult leaders.
To prepare the delegates for their trip, they underwent a series of team-building and learning sessions, which include familiarization about the Netherlands, Belgium, and Philippine governance; understanding European and Filipino cultures; on basic facilitation skills; and on project development.
They also received additional exposure to local organizations, programs, and projects, which deepened their understanding of the local community situation, especially regarding issues, concerns, and best practices.
To help them raise their counterpart contributions, the delegates initiated resource mobilization projects, particularly fund-raising initiatives like a garage sale at the St. Joseph Parish in Mabolo, Cebu City. They likewise sold online YMX5 journals, shirts, and RTWs that were “selling like hot cakes”.
RAFI-Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center and CENVISNET, in cooperation with Vriendschapsband Haarlemmermeer Cebu from the City of Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands; the City of Kortrijk, Belgium; and the City of Cebu, Philippines, launched YMX5 last February with the support of the UnionBank of the Philippines.