Sixth months after the super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda ripped through Palompon in the Visayas region in the Philippines, a special group of local and international students experienced first-hand the resilience of the Filipino people and the transformation of a devastated region.
The 8th Global Youth Exchange (GYE), held from July 13-22, was made possible in partnership with the Global Peace Youth Philippines (GPY Philippines), GPF Asia-Pacific, the local government of Palompon, Leyte, and the Palompon Institute of Technology (PIT). The ten-day program brought together foreign and Filipino volunteers for community service, including the launch of a new All-Lights Village, and a three-night homestay with local families.
The program opened with a special leadership capacity building session at PIT led by the GPY Philippines. The workshop highlighted the potential of young leaders to respond to the challenges of their communities, especially when motivated by GPF’s unifying vision of One Family under God. Participants expressed their commitment to rebuild the surrounding communities and registered as members of Global Peace Youth.
Volunteers also took part in the inauguration of an All-Lights Village in Cantuhaon, Palompon, Leyte. The project was made possible through a collective effort of the Global Peace Youth Association Taiwan and other donors from around the world who sent aid to support recovery efforts. Global Peace Youth Association Taiwan sponsored solar lanterns for 110 households in the village.
“There was really a change in how we interact with people with different cultures and beliefs. The most inspiring for me was when we had been given the chance to make a great change in the lives of people under our vision of One Family under God.” –Bianca Genosa, a PIT student leader and GYE participant
At the inauguration, Mayor Ramon Onate described how the LED solar lanterns have helped families living in typhoon-effected villages get through the difficult aftermath. Also attending was Dr. Kent Juanero, District Supervisor of Department of Education, who explained All-Lights Village’s role in aiding students’ pursuit of education. Studies have linked the solar lamps to improved literacy and academic achievement, health, and environmentally sustainable development.
The Global Youth Exchange is an ongoing international service program connecting international volunteers with local volunteers in sustainable community-based development initiatives like the All-Lights Village Project.
The experience is building lasting relationships between youth of different nations, and a common commitment to service and global leadership.
The Global Youth Exchange is a project of the Global Peace Foundation, founded by GPF in 2009.