TAYO Finalists show that the YOUTH can make a CHANGE

On February 15, Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla were joined by the Livelihood and Social Enterprise Finalists of this year’s Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) namely, Kevin Cuevas of Amiga Philippines and Ricky Gervasa of Go2Virtualahan.

According to Senator Bam Aquino, The Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations is all about finding, recognizing, and rewarding youth organizations that create their own spark so that others may also bask in the same light. With the TAYO program, Filipino youth groups are proven to be able to change lives and turn the world around, because where others see only problems and despair, the youth see a call for action.

tayoThe Search aims to recognize, reward, and encourage youth organizations all over the country with programs and projects that help their communities. TAYO hopes to inspire more young people to find innovative solutions and to challenge status quo through the organizations to which they belong. As movers in their communities, they can make a difference in the lives of the people they desire to serve and in the cause they choose to espouse.

One such project that has made a significant difference in the community of Calauan, Laguna is the UPLB Enactus Organization’s Amiga Philippines. Kevin shared that Amiga Philippines empowers women from Humanityville, a government relocation site, through teaching them the basics in finance in order to sustain their livelihoods.

The reason behind the program came about when the people behind Amiga saw a lot of livelihood programs in Humanityville failing. Upon assessment, they realized it was because the women weren’t taught how to manage their finances properly. Thus, Amiga Philippines devised a program wherein the basics of bookkeeping could be readily understood by the women; they called it Kaliwa­Kanan Cash Accounting System or KKASH. The system allowed the women to understand terms that they initially deemed intimidating such as debit and credit. They teach everything in Filipino and also crafted visual and easy-to-use journals/ledgers specifically designed for the women.

With regards to his team, Kevin shares that they all come from different courses — making Amiga Philippines a holistic effort. “We are a diverse group working on the project. That’s why it becomes vey collaborative when we come up with the training program for the women.”

Go2Virtualahan on the other hand is a social enterprise from Davao City that promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth through full and productive employment. Ricky Gervasa, the Founder of the enterprise, says that its goal is to help people who have difficulty finding a job, such as those diagnosed with certain sicknesses, PWDs or their parents, and former sex workers/drug addicts.

“They have difficulty finding jobs so they end up becoming a burden to their family or society. But we believe they have something to offer society,” Ricky said.

Senator Bam and Cheska asked the young founder about what prompted him to focus on this specific group of people. Ricky shared that he personally experienced rejection and discrimination while seeking employment simply because he was diagnosed with Hepatitis B.

“I found out when I was still pursuing medicine. I wanted to be a pathologist. It was a very difficult journey because the discrimination against people living with Hepatitis B was so strong that I kept it to myself for five years. So, Go2Virtualahan was actually why I began to accept my sickness. Before, I was really confused why I wasn’t getting employed despite graduating at the top of my class.”

By accepting his sickness, Ricky paved the way to the idea of Go2Virtualahan. As an online training resource, they educate their clients on online-based skills so that they may be employed as a work-at-home employee by Go2Virtualahan’s partners.

Go2Virtualahan also gives out full scholarships for their direct benficiaries, such as PWDs or people with certain ailments like Ricky. They have a “train now, pay later” system wherein you don’t have to pay them if you’re not yet employed. Once you get employed however, you have a period of ten months to complete your payments for your training.

Amiga Philippines and Go2Virtualahan are prime examples of why the youth are the future— why the change our nation seeks lies with them. The youth see the world with fresh eyes and possess an undeterred determination to act. Despite their age, these two youth groups have found a way to address issues in our society in creative ways. We only hope that the youth will continue to come together and build communities of change. The future truly rests in their hands.