An Award Levels Up Zambo Youths Into Avatars

Zamboanga City-BY every measure, they – once anointed as “Young Peaceweavers” – are a special breed. They see the recognition as a great and never-ending challenge to work more responsibly as young peace advocates, rather than rest on their laurels – or olive branch.

Awardee Aldrin B. Abdurahim said the award he received this year motivated him to pursue his dream to reach “greater heights of peace-building and development for myself, others and society.”

“Tt has always been a challenge in my life to set horizons greater than the norms of everyday undertakings. I’m glad the Young Peaceweaver Award gave me that opportunity,” he told PeaceWorks.

Abdurahim is now putting into action his dreams of peace. He is currently working with Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), the leading peace organization that also undertakes and gives away the annual selections.

The Young PeaceWeavers Award is a recognition project given by PAZ to senior students who projected a good image of youth through words and deeds. This is given to young people who advocated non-violent approaches to peace-building.

The award’s mechanics state that for an individual to be granted the award, they should have demonstrated an outstanding personal record of involvement in projects or activities which are peace-building in nature or contributed to the attainment of peace, harmony and understanding in their school or community.

Data gathered by Peaceworks provedthat these awardees were indeed making great achievements whether in their schools or in their everyday working environment.

The award’s first recipient, Muhammad Abdul Raouf J. Ekong, has been an active voice of the young Muslims in the city, particularly giving televised lectures on Islamic topics related to peace issues and youth development.

2006 awardee Rosie France Montojo has bannered the name of Zamboanga City and the entire Philippines when she successfully made as one of the seven representatives from the Philippines to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) -sponsored Global Peacebuilders’ Program in Chicago , Illinois .

“Being a young peaceweaver, I know that great challenges lay ahead of me,” she said, adding her big dream is “to see the world peaceful.”

“I know my journey is only beginning. It takes a lot more work to build, realize and share peace,” she declared.

Christine Faith Casipe, another recipient, said the award has challenged her to carry on as a role model especially to the young people. “It motivated me to be more active in any peace-building activity and pushed me to initiate activities that promote peace,” she added. “It moves me towards becoming a better person and unique individual in my community,” added Casipe, who is a volunteer to the international humanitarian organization Red Cross.

Casipe is also an active leader for the youth group of the World-Vision funded Agape Human Development Foundation.

Awardee Christian Olasiman is now leading other youths in his barangay when he topped the recent Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election as SK kagawad. With that vantage position, Olasiman believes he will better be able to advance peace among his peers in his community.

Besides their engagement in peace-building activities, these awardees are also known for achieving a reputation as models of friendship and goodwill towards communal or social solidarity.

Since 2001, 29 promising young peace advocates has been given the same awards. They include Ekong, Alsid Pakam, Alexis de Lima, Grazienne Demabildo, Ira Doressa Anne How, Philip C. Cuizon, Fatima Jane Salahuddin, Henrietta Rica Valmonte, Ronnie Anudin, Casipe, Marie Shayne Perez, Jeb Moraña, Mark Andrew Sitiar, Laarni Francisco, Amedia Marie Climaco, Paul carlo Jacob, Jay Anne May Usman, Michael Filoteo, Dorely Eliza P. dela Cruz, Graziella Demabildo, Montojo, Joseph Eduard G. Laraño III, Olasiman, Marjorie Leanna Kong, Mitchel Andrew Sipin, Marjo Andrea Mequin, Jasper James Pasion, Abdurahim and Frederick Fernandez.

Young Peace Awards is the junior edition of the PeaceWeaver Award, a recognition given by PAZ to individuals, organizations or communities who demonstrate in its works and advance of peace and development in the society.

The awardees are expected to have their first fellowship come December 2, when this year’s awardees will be properly recognized during the PeaceWeavers Awards night at Garden Orchid Hotel. The awards night is one of the major highlights of the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration which will kick off from November 29-December 5.

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