Empowered Champion: Edward Tseng
The most valuable lesson that the APYE program has taught me is a different way of thinking - a different outlook in life that allows me to take concrete steps in making a change both the local and global level. The APYE program not only exposed me to the different realities in life, but it also gave me opportunities where I can contribute to create a change in social issues.
In 2018, I experienced living in a small coastal community called Tulay Buhangin at Padre Burgos, Quezon Province in the Philippines. What struck me was the huge resource gap that the community members were experiencing - there was little to no electricity, clean water, and a stable living income. This eye-opening realization moved me to dedicate my career to development. This immersion really made an impact on my life, even as I went back to my hometown in Taiwan.
As a youth representative from the Asia Pacific region, I see it as my responsibility to help build a sustainable future for the present and future generations. In an international development perspective, I also realize that it is important to conduct valid research and seek grassroots-level solutions as well as proper evaluation in order to assess if our impact contributes in an effective way. Through practical experience, the APYE program allowed me to see this value.
My involvement with APYE has allowed me to visit 4 provinces in the Philippines. This exposure has led me to understand various social issues in a very personal, tangible and involved way. The hands-on experiences I have encountered illuminated different perspectives in life. It also moved me to think of ways on how I can personally contribute to solving an issue and how I can sustain my ideas. Lastly, the highlight of the APYE Program is the people you get to meet during community visits that urge you to listen and understand the current structures and resources they have in order to provide an effective solution that can be driven by local people.
I believe that the APYE Program is just a starting point to connect people to different experiences and different opportunities. I am 27 years old and I am currently working as a community builder who focuses on SDG incubation. I do networking events and hold training workshops to engage young people with social entrepreneurs and experts and create partnerships to eventually start projects here in Taiwan. I am also encouraging more young people from Taiwan to be more involved with global issues and raise awareness by encouraging them to join APYE. The APYE program is a great way for young people to learn more about the SDGs in a practical way and be able to work together to ideate solutions. The APYE journey is just a starting point. I encourage all of APYE Philippine graduates to be active in the Fellowship program to keep learning and consider SDGs in their future careers. The youth are the change makers of the next generation and I believe we can achieve the 2030 Global Goals together.