A Focus Group Discussion was organized by FundLife International on February 27, 2016 at Rafael’s Farm and Garden Restaurant in Babatngon, Leyte to draw upon selected youth participants’ insights, perspective and experiences that would help us gain a better understanding of the individual issues and challenges the youth face today, particularly in reaching their dreams. Knowing and understanding such challenges would allow us to have a clearer direction in implementing a series of learning and mentoring activities as part of the Going Places programme.
Going Places is our youth engagement initiative designed to discover and develop the potential and dreams of young people in Tacloban; to empower them to achieve their aspirations; and to mobilize them to support the continuing development of their respective communities.
This FGD marks the start of the series of engagement FundLife will be having with the youth in Tacloban. A total of fourteen participants, aged 19-22, attended the discussion.
Among the fourteen participants during the FGD held last February 27, four were carefully selected to have a follow up discussion with them. This round of discussion was held on March 6, 2016 at Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban City. While the first FGD focused on the participants’ dreams and aspirations, along with their personal struggles / challenges in achieving such, the follow up discussion aimed to tackle what’s stopping the youth, in general, from achieving what or who they want to be. It is hoped that in this discussion, the pressing issues that the youth themselves recognize will be discussed more in detail.
Considering, among other things, the personal dreams and the challenges the rest of the participants mentioned during the first FGD, participants were asked to identify at least two issues which they believe are hindering the youth in Tacloban from reaching their full potential and achieving their dreams. With that question as the starting point of the discussion, how the community is responding to these issues, along with the solutions and interventions the participants suggest to best address such, were eventually discussed.
It’s clear from the responses and discussions that youth in Tacloban are capable of aspiring for something greater, not only for themselves but even for their community; however, they do recognize that there are challenges and barriers to overcome for their dreams to be realized.
Inferiority complex, intimidation, lack of opportunities and connections, and accessibility of education were among the key challenges and issues identified during the first FGD. Furthermore, it was remarkable to find out that the traumatic Yolanda experience the whole of Tacloban went through is still something which affects people today.
A change in mindset and outlook in life for the youth could be a challenge in itself, but is believed to be something that needs to be done for the young people today in Tacloban to have them discover and develop their untapped potential, as well as for them to see, own and reach the dreams they have for themselves, as well as for their communities.
Dreams propel us forward and inspire progress –this is the very reason why our discussion with the youth started by asking them about their dreams. Everyone ought to have a dream and more importantly, must be given the opportunity to realize them. Young people today have lost hope and have decided to set aside their goals. Our first engagement with the youth encouraged us even more to enable their dreams by providing realistic opportunities for them to connect to the dream they have. Dreams are indeed a powerful gift that we can give to people –so powerful that it has produced inspiring successes and has enabled people to go places.