Change in a Flap

We often hear how the flap of a butterfly's wings can influence weather patterns around the world. Striking an allusion between this natural tendency and a metaphor, the butterfly effect is tantamount to the analysis that small changes, if properly situated, can bring about wide-ranging effects.

In a world stricken by poverty and divided by chaos, individual butterflies needs to step up to create an impact. Each butterfly, assigned to a specific task, should work in synergy with other butterflies to elicit an effect. An analogy of this process could be paired to individual youths aspiring to make a difference in their respective communities. Each youth, tasked for a specific purpose, should integrate oneself to a larger group working for a common goal.

This May, 18 young individuals from the United Kingdom and the Philippines will endeavor in this process of social transformation. Under the Global Xchange Programme, the group of young individuals will be forming Team 107 of the Global Xchange Programme (GXP) that is jointly implemented in the Philippines by VSO Bahaginan and the British Council. They will be placed in communities, first in the UK and then in the Philippines, to do volunteer work in the areas of disability, secure livelihood, and environment.

Dubbed as The Butterfly Effect Project, the team will work for six months to make significant contributions to both UK and the Philippines. As they emanate the value of volunteerism, these individuals will influence change to their counterpart pairs, to their host homes, and to the communities that they will be in. These changes, when put together, would bring about large-scale and lasting effects.

Like butterflies that emerged from the cycle of metamorphosis, nine individuals from different social backgrounds will be representing the Philippines. Ready for their counterparts from the UK, each will try to flap one’s wings to make significant contributions to the world:

Mark Aethen G. Agana, 22.

Hailing from South Cotabato, Aethen believes that one person is of more value than the world. If each would start caring for one’s neighbors, the world would be a perfect world to live in. For him, valuing a person more than anything else is the essence why people live. He joined the GXP because he wants to travel and experience a different culture. He sees the programme as a good training ground for life long volunteers and active global citizens aspirants like him. Having a background on Information Technology coupled by his marketing skills, he would like to help in the promotion and building of the GXP identity and vision.

Dionell Chris D. Batoon, 21.

Chris wants to stop saying he cares for other people. He wants his words turn into action. An enthusiastic individual who actively participates in volunteer work, Chris values time and uphold honesty and integrity in everything he does. For him, these things are necessary tools to become a good leader and an effective agent of change. Having a Degree on International Relations, he enjoys traveling and learning new languages. He is also into singing, dancing, and hosting events that require interaction with different people.

Margarita Victoria C. Caballa, 21.

Recently finished a Bachelor of Arts Degree Major in European Studies Minor in Development Management and French Studies, “Marvie” joined the GXP because it brings her closer to her chosen career. She aspires to work and invest her knowledge and skills in international development. Being the former president of the Ateneo Special Education Society, she believes that her experiences and abilities could bring about positive change in the world, if diverted to a worthy cause. Aside from traveling and reading books, Marvie enjoys being part and working with a team.

Joseph Eduard G. Laraño III, 20.

A native of Iloilo, “JoEd” is particularly excited about the opportunity being offered by GXP because the nature of the work will surely give him significant and memorable experiences. He believes that the most effective results stem from true commitment. Because of this, he thrives to have a close collaboration with others who share the same passion for equality and holistic development. He welcomes the next six months of his life as a life changing experience. He believes that knowing God’s wisdom will help him see far beyond the superficial layers of life. Bringing with him the value of patience and perseverance, JoEd will sure come a long way.

Desiree May L. Llanos Dee, 21.

“Des” live and breathe for adventure. She has climbed more than 20 mountains in the Philippines and has tried a lot of breathtaking escapades. She loves traveling because the act adds up to her understanding of the world. This act of moving from one place to another makes her independent, open-minded, and versatile. Des realized that she wants to do things for a noteworthy cause rather than for purely capitalistic motivations. For her, the world has enough of greed. It’s about time the world gives back, whether to disabled communities or to the environment. She sees the GXP as the perfect avenue for personal growth and for the fulfillment of her ambitions for the self and for the country.

April Karnette S. Maniacup, 21.

April takes the liberty of finding her own path and threads ways that are less traveled. Although raised in a very protective environment, she has seen suffering from the perspective of her own comfort zone. She has witnessed vulnerabilities from outside her window and these experiences have induced in her a sense of awareness and social responsibility. At the university, she took a Degree on Philippine Studies in the hope that she could be of help to her own country. But later, she realized that service and desire to make a difference should not only end in one’s own home. One should be able to transcend boundaries and set aside differences to be able to see the bigger picture. April joined the GXP because it could give her a broader perspective of the world. At the same time, it is a challenge to share her learning and experiences to other people.

Karl Benson O. Molina, 21.

Philippine Ambassador to the One Young World, London, United Kingdom, Karl has a lot of noteworthy experiences as a youth leader and a change maker. Most of his work experiences involve teaching young kids and children in the orphanage. For three months, he has served as a volunteer teacher at the Rumah Shalom Orphanage for Indian Boys in Malaysia. He joined the GXP because he felt that it is a great platform for him to become a global citizen. The programme will allow him to have a greater perspective regarding the most pressing issues that the world needs to face. His experiences on development and volunteer work have prepared him well for the GXP and he is confident that he will be able to contribute ideas that will benefit the host communities. Compared to others, his source of knowledge not only comes from theory but also from what he has experienced first hand.

Christina Lucia Marian Palami, 24.

“Be brave, right through, and leave for the unknown.”~R. Tagore. This is one of the guiding principles that “Trixie” hopes to live by in the next 6 months. Being the 13th child of a big family, Trixie values kindness, sharing, and hard work. She is currently employed as a Corporate Communications Officer for CB&T ProStaff, Inc. However, her 'soul' work is her development work for projects in rural areas of Leyte, with special focus on women empowerment and scholarships for poor but deserving youth. Trixie is a woman of imagination, sense of humor and an even greater sense of purpose, traits which she wishes to bring to the GX Programme.

Anthony Ross T. Zuniga, 24.

Originally, “Toni” joined the GXP because the idea of traveling for free was hard to ignore. However, as he learned more about the programme, the idea of actually doing something for somebody substantiate his desire to push forward. He may not have the cure for AIDS or the answer for world hunger, but he has pure intentions. Having lived a comfortable life, the programme would allow him to offer what he could for a greater cause. Working as a Brand Manager, Toni values equality and truth. In his spare time, he does wall climbing and marathon, read books, plays with his dogs, and enjoys music and film.

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