June 14, 2023
Welcome to MARL Michelle!
Having lived in many countries, Canada has been a rather interesting experience. Seeing how many ways, no matter how subtle, there is a level of consideration for those who often are not in a position to easily access the things some of us take for granted. Frankly, the idea of a door that can be opened by a button, placed at just the right strategic height for people with disabilities to reach, often coupled with some sort of ramp for them to move over easily, is very novel to me yet so practical…granted it does not work as efficiently, sometimes.
Growing up in the Philippines, I constantly saw a disparity in the neighborhood where I lived in. While Filipino madams were drinking tea in air-conditioned buildings, people were living in slums just across the street. Seeing people bathe and wash clothes in the nearby polluted river was something I grew up seeing every day. The idea of something like the automatic door mechanism existing there for people who are disabled is simply unthinkable. Despite this everyday encounter, it was not until I became older that I realized those people were being denied their human rights and having their basic needs not met. In spite of human rights being touted as inalienably given to people by virtue of being human, our world prohibits certain people from obtaining those rights. In many cases, some people do not know that they are entitled to them in the first place. Hence, human rights education becomes essential as we teach people about their rights and ways to defend them. If everyone is aware of their rights and understands what they entail, we can not only avoid the situation where they are violated but also apply and enforce their presence in our everyday lives.
I would like to see a culture of human rights acknowledged, respected, and granted to everyone. When there are no longer “others,” everyone is accepted, respected, and treated accordingly with consideration for who they are. My interests lie in the education of youth and encouraging them to engage in society for a healthier and brighter future. I want young people to be able to see that their voice, despite how small it may seem in the giant mess that is life, can be heard. That this voice means something and that a change can be made.
I believe that MARL will equip me to finally see that future being realized with youth engagement and awareness being their primary goal. Eventually, to make a difference tomorrow, we start today, one step at a time.
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