Hi, everyone! I am Almira V. Abril, a fifth-year BA Broadcast Communication student from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD). Recently, I got accepted in a prestigious international conference, named: the Harvard Project for Asia and International Relations (HPAIR), to be convened in Sydney, Australia, this coming August 17-21!!!!! Yay!!!
However, here's the catch: I haven't secured my spot yet in the aforesaid above conference due to troubling financial reasons, and I am humbly writing to you this campaign description to tell you my story, the relevance of the said HPAIR, and how you could help in continuing what may be our shared journey in expressing, at the very least, some of the multiplicitous aspirations of our people to the rest of the world.
I come from a big middle-class family, and as such, every now and then we have troubles in managing our finances. My father used to be a seaman. My mother has always been a homemaker since I was a little girl. Growing up, we had to be very strict and wise on how we appropriate our expenditures, such as on the education of me and my four sisters, on our monthly utility bills, food, shelter, clothing, and so much more.
Just enough to make all ends meet, really! However, when I entered college, all became different. Unlike in high school—as class valedictorian with full scholarship—in UP Diliman, I was not able to get just leverage on my tuition (thus a free education), and all of this worsened when my father lost his job. Our family was financially unstable. I was changed by circumstances I did not even expect would come, and this made me stronger. I did all I can to get full discount for my tuition, which means having to prove that we are poor enough. I continue to become an active student-leader. And this was the time when I knew that the real meaning of service to the people is to fight with them for our rights as citizens of our nation – especially at the toughest times, given that our plight is shared through our material conditions.
The university of the people has taught me how to fight the battles of the marginalized, and how to maximize all avenues possible to be heard. Learning about the HPAIR excited me, since I saw it as a very good opportunity to share the current condition of our country to other youths from across cultures. I wanted to seize the opportunity to share the stories of our national minority, peasants, and workers I got to interact with as I involve myself to various organizations. HPAIR for me means being able to amplify the silenced dissent of the youth and of the people.
Making this world a better place to live in requires us to learn that different races, gender, religion, and ethnicities from different countries face the very same yet nuanced crises of landlessness, joblessness, inaccessibility to basic social services, continued human rights violations, and worsening civil wars and military aggressions. HPAIR is a conference that will not only allow us to share stories among ourselves, as different citizens of different nations, but it will also allow us to weave all our stories together and see intersectionality among different countries. It will allow us to forge international unity to stand for what is rightful for us and to step forward our fight for genuine social change and a just and lasting peace.
However, my spot in HPAIR is still a blur.
I am still far from the amount needed to secure my spot, and it is not easy to come up with almost 1,500$ that will cover my registration fee, visa application, roundtrip tickets, accommodation and living allowance. I am writing this campaign not just because I want to see kangaroos and koalas and meet new friends, but because I want the world to know that amidst the crises that the Filipino people are faced with, we all still choose to fight for what is right and just.
I am asking for your moral, emotional, and financial support on this endeavour even if I know this is a shot in the dark. Rest assured that every hard-earned centavo that you donate is not just about helping me fulfil my aspirations, but it is also about contributing to the advancement of our fight for our democratic rights, this time to be heard across the world.
Together, let us continue to struggle for genuine change, and in my belief in the goodness and kindness of people, I am in all humility and direness hoping for your support! Thank you, and have a good day!