Hi. My name is Melo Mar Y. Cabello, aged 18, from the humble archipelago - the Philippines.
And just like my beloved country, I too had a humble beginning.
Over the course of 18 years, my young mind and vulnerable heart had experienced a lot - I have gone through numerous sufferings and uncountable problems. However, behind all of those, I chose to stand up again and begin a new life.
And here I am - standing in front of a new opportunity, a new door that is waiting to be opened. No. It is already open. Yet there is something blocking my way. It is that something that millions of my fellow youth are also facing right now across the globe. It is what we call POVERTY.
That is the sole reason why I am here. I need help. Your help. I need you to help me overcome this obstacle.
But before anything else, allow me to introduce first the youth in need. Let me tell you the story of a boy named Melo Mar.
Melo, a shy and introvert kid, grew up in the modest city of Tacloban, in the eastern side of the Philippines. In the 17th of September, year 1999, this kid was born with Asthma. Faced with hospital bills and expensive medication, Melo's mother was left with no choice but to work abroad. By the time Melo turned two, his mom went to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper.
By the age of two, Melo "lost" his mother. And, by the age of three, he lost his father as well, who committed adultery and had a mistress. Melo was left to his grandma's caring until the year of misfortune came.
It was year 2013 - the year of misfortune. In the 14th of February of that year, Melo lost his grandma in an accident. That was it - in a flash, he lost his whole world. He was taken by his father right after. He was devastated. But the misfortune did not stop there. Come November, on the unlucky 13th, Tacloban was devastated by the strongest typhoon in history - the supertyphoon Haiyan.
I don't know if you still remember this. But if you do, and if you still recognize the large vessel that was washed ashore and rampaged multiple houses, that is the place where Melo is situated during that time. The vessel missed them by two to three houses.
After six hours of being drenched in the rain, fearing for our lives, the storm stopped. We were alive. We had literally nothing but our body, but we were glad to be alive.
And in that instance - right then and there - I realized something, something that changed the way I view life.
I realized that we are the luckiest persons in the world. YES - we lost our home, our clothes, even some of our family members - yet the fact that we were given a second life, what else could we ask for?
So, I promised myself, that from that day forward, I will live a meaningful life.
My family and I decided to start anew in Caloocan, located in the heart of the Philippines.
I entered Bagbaguin National High School with a bruised heart, shattered mind, and as a typhoon survivor. In the end, I emerged with a heart of a youth advocate, a Valedictorian with a passionate soul.
Afterwards, I entered University of the East as an academic scholar. After two years, I emerged as a true-blooded warrior with the recognition of with High Honors.
Now, I am a member of multiple organisations which aims to empower and mobilize the youth.
You see, nothing could stop me. No. Not even the strongest typhoon in history. That is what I have tried and is still trying to import to my fellow youth through the organisations I work with.
But then again, these problems never cease to try and stop me from pursuing my dreams. My family is currently facing financial instability. Why? Because my sister needs a lot of financial support in her last year of study in Nursing.
But do you think I would give up easily? Hell no! I entered the BPO industry jist last May, and worked in a graveyard schedule (9pm-6am shift). Deterrent as it is to my health, but I have no choice but to double my efforts. Now's not the right time to give up!
However, what I am earning is not enough. I also have to help fund my sister's education.
That's the reason why I am here.
I knock on your kind hearts.
Don't let this youth's dreams be crumbled just easily.
You have the power to give hope.