Francis Isip Bawa is a 19-year old college freshman at De La Salle University (DLSU) undertaking the program Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Computer Science (BSMSCS). He is a gen3 even before he was born because his mother is an active member of the Focolare Movement. Francis graduated his Senior High School from La Salle College Antipolo (LSCA) with High Honors. During his two years stay at LSCA, he was awarded a full academic scholarship and remained one of the top-ranking students in his batch. He was the President of the Kapnayan (Chemistry) Club and a member of the Media Committee. After graduating, Francis was awarded the DOST-SEI S&T Undergraduate Scholarship, the Philippines’ premier science scholarship program. He is part of three organizations at De La Salle University namely: Archer for UNICEF, Investors’ Today, and La Salle Computer Society. Francis is committed to being a catalyst of change and making education the driving force of development in the Philippines.
By Phillipine editorial staff
The Zero Hunger workshop began with several short videos while we were waiting for the other participants. As the clock turned two, the workshop officially started. The first agenda was easing the participants and breaking the ice. A member of the Young Ones for Unity (YOU) from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) took charge of the icebreaker. The game was called “Fact or Bluff”. Simply explained, the game master would show a statement and recite it out loud. The participants were then tasked to determine if the said statement was true or not, a fact or a bluff. In normal Focolare fashion, the game was not that effortless. If the participants think the statement was correct, they will put their hands in their ears, and if they think the statement is incorrect, they will then put their hands on their mouths. The majority of the participants participated quite extremely, and most of the group zoom accounts like the ones from Noveleta (Cavite) and Sigma (Aklan), were brimming with joy.
After the icebreaker, we were ready to introduce the speaker for our main program and this workshop: Ms. Maria Cristina M. Bonifacio. She started her presentation by playing bite-sized videos. Actually, the bulk of her talk consisted of quick videos explaining poverty and hunger in simple terms. One of the videos talked about poverty and what the solution was or the “opposite” to it. Before she played the video, she asked us what we thought was the root cause of poverty. I answered in the chat box “Capitalism,” as others followed with answers such as “greed, allocation of resources” and many others. The video was played and revealed that the real cause of poverty was separation. With walls between people, mountains between towns, and oceans between nations, the borders just kept piling up. The video then continued on to explain that if separation was the cause of poverty, then togetherness is the answer. And what causes togetherness? Love. It then struck me and, I bet many others: wasn’t this exactly what Chiara taught us? That love and unity could practically solve almost, nay, every problem in this world. It was such a simple example in the video that made so much sense to me and everyone else in the zoom meeting.
Ms. Bonifacio then continued her talk with topics on Consumerism and Materialism. She let us do a quick survey of how we spend our money in connection to our wants/needs. After the survey, we got to see the kind of lifestyle we had. We were all shocked that the kind of lifestyle we lived contradicted the kind of lifestyle we should live to help achieve Zero Hunger.
The last part of her talk was about some facts and realities about hunger that really opened my eyes. One of these facts is that that around 1/3 of the world’s produced food annually is lost or wasted as indicated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Do you know what’s even more surprising? That only 1/4 of this wasted food is necessary to solve hunger.
She ended her talk, and we had a small break and intermission. We proceeded to hand Ms. Bonifacio her official Certificate of Appreciation duly signed by UST. The Co-President of the YOU of UST headed the last part of our program which was the invitation to the Zero Hunger Project PH. A program initiated by the YOU of UST to end hunger. We ended the program by thanking Ms. Bonifacio and the participants then closed with the UST Hymn.
It amazed me greatly to see actual statistics about hunger and realized that it truly was possible to end it. All the more that I, along with many others, was tasked to contribute greatly to the eradication of hunger. Not one person, one organization, one nation, could truly eradicate hunger without togetherness and collaborating with one another.