MANILA, Nov. 14, 2016 – They say the best agent for change is not a program, a technique, or even technology. It’s still a person.
This is exactly what the Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia) has been doing for 10 years now since it solidified its commitment to form young adults, professionals, and lay leaders from all backgrounds under its “applied leadership” program.
Tugso comes from the mountain steppes of Mongolia, a distant and remote land north of mainland China. Prior to 2011, she had never seen the ocean nor eaten seafood. After 3 years in the Philippines, her life has been turned upside down – in a good way. She shares : “I was surprised that I could succeed in organizing the women in the remote towns in my country! Through the program, they were able to increase their savings.
Women empowerment in Mongolia
”My bishop is very happy with the results. Now, we will try to see how to make it more self-sustainable,” said the young woman about the women empowerment program she helps run that provides livelihood for 24 women.
Lattana, who used to be a shy young woman from the little country of Laos, nods her head in agreement to Tugso’s story. After going through IFFAsia’s training program, she returned to her country and quickly rose up in the ranks to become the area manager for an international NGO in Pakse. She now oversees a staff of 12 people which manage child care, education, and health programs in local communities.
For IFFAsia, such stories are indicative of the bright-eyed enthusiasm with which their missionaries help transform their communities and countries through socio-pastoral and mission work. About 80 of these alumni gathered at Radio Veritas Asia in Quezon City from Nov. 4 to 7, 2016 to share their stories of mission on the ground, affirm one another, and celebrate the 10th Anniversary of their alma mater, the Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia).
180 youth from 13 countries
The theme of the event was “Building Leaders, Transforming Asia”.
In his keynote address, IFFAsia Bishop-chairman Joel Baylon, D.D., congratulated the institute, alumni, and partner organizations for their contributions. He said, “We give thanks to the Lord for the past 10 years, for the 180 young adults He has sent us from 13 countries – Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – for the trust of our partners and the local Churches, and for God’s faithful and merciful love.”
IFFAsia, established by Fondacio, a Catholic lay movement with Pontifical status. Fondacio promotes evengelization, leadership, and human development activity at the service of the Gospel. IFFAsia’s leadership program is designed to equip young adults and professionals with competencies to become initiators and leaders of projects and missions in Church or society by harnessing their potentials to act for the common good. (Rosabelle Ramirez / CBCPNews)