Port Moresby, PNG 18 November 2023 -- The Councillor for Social Communication has the duty of animating the Congregation in this sector. With his department, he promotes Salesian activity in the social communication sector, and in particular coordinates at the world level the structures and centers for which the Congregation has responsibility. VOICES and the Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival (DBGYFF) have opened up avenues and given a platform for young people to express themselves.
Listening with an open heart to add value to the lives of others is essential in having a meaningful life. Listening is accompanied with action, action to selflessly give oneself of service and having courage and boldness in making right decisions. I believe every good thing that is placed in our hearts are from God and His will always prevails. Unexpected no’s from our own plans open doors to God’s better yeses. God’s better yeses are always for the service of others as we are all called to be.
The brief moments of the VOICES program opened my mind and heart to so many things. It began with digging within myself and unpacking my own experiences that were a hindrance or blockage for myself and sharing it with others. During one of the interactions, Fr. Keith Amodia, SDB stated that “it takes courage to share one’s brokenness”. I am challenged and hope that I can also provide a safe space for others to share their brokenness as I believe that sometimes, we find healing through it. Interactions and sharing of other young people in EAO show that everyone regardless of nationality and background, we each have some experiences and concerns that become like open wounds we carry around with us everywhere and we just need that haven of positivity that is willing to heal the wounds through a heartful ear. I believe the VOICES program has been that haven for me and I hope to extend its hand by being a haven of hope to others as well.
As our country is nearing its golden jubilee anniversary of independence and freedom with its goal of peaceful and inclusive society, I hope we, the people, can also open our eyes to the need to be free from abuse, crime, and oppression starting in our homes. I am grateful for the platform provided by the Salesians to hear the silent voices of the youth. I am also grateful to have been part of the program as I was able to share my experience on the topic "Abuse, crime, oppression" in PNG.
Apart from sharing my experience, I was able to learn from other young people from Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Korea, Australia, Vietnam, Timor Leste and Philippines who shared on the same issue as well as the issues of Digital & Substance Addiction and Environment & Climate Change. Our interactions challenge us, especially from my end to act in helping other young people to voice out their silent cries. Every young person has a voice, and they need to make that decision to break out of societal norms that suppress their voices. Its empowering when young people get together and make conversations that matter as well as are willing to act on things that matter.
Overall, the enriching VOICES program was a short encounter, yet, the openness of hearts and dynamic presence of everyone including the Salesians and the participants exhibit the Don Bosco family spirit. We all have a social responsibility in communicating with impact. The dynamic presence and generosity of the hosts, Thai Province, especially Fr. Dheparat and Fr. Ekasit is heart-warming. On that note, I also extend my sincere thanks to the Provincial Superior of PGS vice province, Fr. Gregorio Bicomong, SDB and Fr. Ambrose Pereira, SDB, EAO Social Communication Coordinator for their trust in me in allowing and providing for my participation in the VOICES program.
I am grateful for the friendships established and looking forward to taking action in the new possibilities of social communication in our region, especially PGS and other collaborations in East Asia Oceania.