23 SEPTEMBER 2020
At 18, Kristine uses the power of storytelling to spread awareness on youth issues.
“I have always wanted to be a journalist,” said Kristine, “No matter what happens, I will continue writing stories.”
At 18, Kristine has penned several editorials, news, and features for her school. She often wrote about mental health, with the goal of removing the stigma against it.
“I am also passionate about photojournalism and radio broadcasting,” Kristine added. In fact, she has represented her school in various competitions.
In March 2020, Kristine graduated from high school, putting an end to her career as a campus journalist. “I wanted to study journalism in college, but that will have to wait,” said the young writer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put Kristine’s parents out of work, leaving her family in a financial turmoil.
Her father is a tricycle driver; however, community quarantine measures have disallowed tricycles and jeepneys for the time being. Meanwhile, her mother’s small catering business has been interrupted by the pandemic.
To help out, Kristine decided to venture into the world of online selling. Through social media, she sells clothes and accessories. Her older brother temporarily quit college to work odd jobs. For food, the family depends on their backyard vegetable garden and poultry.
Money has been tight, but Kristine is not giving up.
“I’m done with high school, so I can no longer write for them,” she said. “But this doesn’t mean I should stop writing all together.”
A journalist in the making
During the onset of the pandemic, Kristine was the first among her peers in Western Samar to create an infographic on COVID-19 prevention.
She shared this with the project team and we were all amused at how well-researched and designed it was. Hence, the decision to publish it in our official social media channels.
Kristine’s initiative inspired many other students to follow suit. Soon enough, we were receiving articles, poems, and infographics from students across the six schools our RAISE Above Project covers.
Their outputs were not limited to COVID-19 health and safety reminders, but also tackled gender equality, adolescent health, and youth empowerment.
These are viewed and shared not only by the Plan International Philippines community, but also by local governments and other Plan country offices for their own advocacy campaigns.
“I guess I gained more than what I bargained for when I joined the RAISE Above Project’s Youth Peer Educators initiative,” Kristine shared.
“I was trained not only on youth issues but also on communications and advocacy,” she continued. “Now I am a proud Youth Reporter, raising awareness on girls’ rights among many other topics close to my heart.”
Since late 2019, the project has been training students on how to use storytelling as a powerful means to influence others for the better.
“The whole experience also did wonders for my self-esteem, I am no longer that shy girl I once was,” said Kristine. “Now I have more confidence in sharing my ideas with a wider audience.”
During last year’s International Day of the Girl celebration, Kristine and her fellow Youth Reporters took over local provincial radio stations to talk about the media portrayal of women and girls. That one-day special episode was a big hit.
Kristine also starred in one of our advocacy videos, writing her own script. In the video, she dispelled myths surrounding menstrual health. In our channels alone, it garnered around 60,000 views.
She voiced some of our radio PSAs (public service announcements), where she informed parents and students on how the remote online enrolment system works, and encouraged the public to report cases of gender-based violence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many parents in far-flung areas admitted that they would not have been able to enroll their children if they did not hear these PSAs on the radio.
Despite leaving high school, Kristine’s messages will live on and will be absorbed by several more students in the years to come as all our advocacy and education materials are shared with community and school partners.
“Next school year, I hope I can finally enrol in college,” Kristine said, smiling.
“I really want to be a good journalist,” she stressed. “I want to tell meaningful stories that could directly impact the lives of many.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has been steadily rising over the past few months, but Kristine hopes 2021 would bring better news for her and everyone else.
According to Kristine, she joined our project’s YPE and Youth Reporters initiatives because she wanted to develop her skills in journalism.
“It is not enough for me to know how to write well, I must also learn and understand the issues I write about,” she said.
“In the future, I want to see more girls like me in the media, both in front and behind the camera,” Kristine continued. “I want our stories to be told.”
The RAISE Above Project empowers adolescent girls, young women, and young men by making them better realize their rights to education and skills development.
We want the youth to raise their hands, raise their voice, and for them to rise above the challenges their communities face. The project is funded by Dubai Cares.
Emergencies, Girls Get Equal, COVID-19, girls’ leadership, Youth economic empowerment in emergencies, Youth in media