Reporting education and peace in the south
CHEERS TO the Philippine Daily Inquirer for publishing news reports on some underreported stories on education and peace in Mindanao.
The Inquirer published the story “Muslim students find learning English can be fun” on July 4. The story was about Muslim students from Zamboanga City and Lanao provinces who are learning English under the Madrassa Youth Promoting English Advancement for Community Empowerment (MY PEACE). The MY PEACE program aims to empower “at-risk youth” in Mindanao through English language education as well as life skills training including entrepreneurship and civic engagement.
The report featured several Muslim students who graduated from the pioneering program last June 5. The report also noted that there were hardly female participants in the program in Marawi City but that it has changed “dramatically” after several months.
On July 5, the Inquirer also published “Conflict to connection: Nur and Jay show the way.” It chronicled the story of a Tausug and a Badjao who had developed a friendship despite their different beliefs through the Creating Connections program of the United Nation’s Children Fund. The program aims to teach comprehensive life-skills training and filmmaking to young people in post disaster and post conflict areas including Zamboanga City.
The filmmaking workshop series, according to the report, aimed at “engaging adolescents and young people in exploring the difficulties of living together after periods of conflict and in close proximity with different ethnic groups”
Both news stories suggested that through these programs, young people in Mindanao will not only develop skills and acquire knowledge in the English language, but also gain a deeper understanding of the needs of peace and stability in the region.