Firewood vendor before, youth community leader now
By Lisbet Esmael
World Vision Communications Intern
One outstanding World Vision sponsored child proved that battles in life can transform a person from a pained individual into an adequate and effective youth leader in his community. The hardships faced at a young age made Ronnie to fully depend on God and to explore his capabilities as a student and a leader.
Ronnie’s past situation made him involved and sympathize with his fellow youth, “The children and the youth in my community are close to my heart. And I want to start my career by empowering them. I want them to be informed by the existing issues that are affecting them.”
With his deep perseverance to help the youth sector in poverty, Ronnie now sits as a representative of the children and youth in the Municipality Child Protection Council in their municipality in Cebu. He also serves to be an important factor in establishing the Barangay Children’s Associations in 25 barangays, helping in the drafting of an ordinance to let the youth sector spend 1% of their annual budget for various youth activities and seminars.
Aside from being a responsible citizen in their community, Ronnie also excels in his academic journey, bagging countless medals and awards from his elementary years up until now as he enters his tertiary education as an upcoming sophomore.
But before these achievements, Ronnie had to surpass early challenges in life when he had to support his family at the age of 11. As the eldest child among five children, Ronnie felt the need to shoulder the responsibilities as his father was yet to recover from a road accident.
“My mother couldn’t work because she was taking care of my father whose leg was broken during the accident. I joined other kids here in our village to fetch firewood in a nearby forest and sell it to our neighbours. I did these during the weekends in a span of almost two years,” Ronnie related.
At a young age, Ronnie already experienced and realized the importance of time and money in order to survive. Even though he had to bleed sweat, this young man always saw the beauty and positivity of his dreams. Now, he is a scholar enrolled in English Literature, pursuing his passion for teaching and writing, seeing it as a way to reach out his causes to his community and to inspire more lives.
The 17-year-old Cebuano expressed his gratitude for World Vision for opening the world to him and for helping him realize his dreams. Recently, he has been elected as the president of the National Children’s Congress conducted by World Vision, widening his connection to reach more children in various places in the country.
“I thank World Vision for giving me this opportunity to lead. I’m also thankful to the organization for helping me realize my potential as a leader. The seminars and capacity-building workshops I joined before equipped me to become a God-fearing and dedicated youth leader.”
As he continues his inspiring sojourn as a student and active leader, Ronnie does not forget to thank the Lord for giving him strength to endure all the hardships in life. “The Lord has been my guide and provider of strength in every endeavour I face in my life. I know I am on the right track of what He plans for me. Someday, I will achieve my dreams and reap the fruits of my hard work.”