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How to make your 2013 more meaningful

How to make your 2013 more meaningful

By: Harvey S. Keh

Published at The Manila Bulletin on January 6, 2013 (Sunday)

 

The new year always brings about new resolutions, opportunities and challenges to all of us. A recent survey done by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) shows that  almost 90% of Filipinos are entering this new year with renewed hope and excitement. Yet despite this, there still much work to be done to help our country continue to move forward towards lasting progress and development. This will only happen if each of us will take the time to do our own small share towards making a difference in our society.

 

Here are some concrete initiatives that we can do to help make our 2013 more meaningful not only for ourselves but also for our country:

 

1.) Share your old but usable books to our public schools

 

While we have many books that just gather dust in our book shelves or cabinets, less than 20% of our public elementary schools do not have functional libraries due to lack of resources. This is equivalent to more than 10 Million young Filipino students who are not able to learn how to read properly because they do not have books to read in the first place. The Acts of Hope for the Nation (AHON) Foundation accepts storybooks, up to date encyclopedias, dictionaries, reference books and other learning materials that can still be placed in our public elementary school libraries. If you would like to donate, you can call (02) 433-1440 or (02) 990-3282, you can also bring your donations to 56-D Esteban Abada St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

 

2.) Volunteer for the coming 2013 National and Local Elections

 

We always love to complain about how corrupt our government officials are and this is a fact in our country where we lose billions of pesos due to graft and corruption. These billions of pesos can easily provide scholarships to poor but deserving students, adequate housing to poor families and health insurance for every Filipino. More often than not, the reason why we have corrupt political leaders is because many of us choose to just stay away from getting involved and ensuring that these people never get elected into public office again.

 

If you believe that our country deserves clean, honest and truthful elections then you may want to share your time and talent to volunteer for election watchdogs such as the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) or the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). You can contact NAMFREL by calling their office at (02) 470-4151 while you can just visit your nearest parish church to volunteer for PPCRV.

 

Let us remember that we do not have a right to complain if we don’t do our part as citizens of this country to ensure that we elect the right leaders.

 

3.) Blog and write about inspiring stories in your community

 

When one looks at the front page of our newspapers, majority of the news are usually bad news. Are we as a nation really that bad? I don’t think so. There are so many inspiring stories in our communities but sadly, not many people know about these stories until media decides to publish or feature it. One prime example is the Kariton Classroom of Efren Penaflorida who only got attention when he was chosen as the CNN Hero of the Year in 2009. Fortunately for Penaflorida, his friends decided to upload a video of his initiative on YouTube which got the attention of people from CNN. This recognition enabled Penaflorida’s group to receive more resources and donations that is now allowing them to help more children in Cavite.

 

Our country is a nation of heroes that is why I am sure that there are a lot more exciting and worthwhile initiatives that are happening in our own communities thus, it would be good if we can blog or write about these initiatives so that we can continue to inspire more Filipinos to do their own small share in making a difference by sharing their time and talents.

 

Just like the Kariton Classroom, the community projects that we start need not immediately make a great impact but if we are able to create several hundreds or even thousands of these initiatives all over the country then it will only be a matter of time before we are able to make a big dent in our nation’s fight against illiteracy and poverty.

 

Comments are welcome at harveykeh@gmail.com

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