INSPIRING: Filipino Student Wins Global Award for Founding Nonprofit Org for ASEAN Youth

This Filipino student teaches us that it doesn’t matter what your age or background is—you are always capable of making a change towards a better world.

19-year-old Mirus Ponon just won an international award naming him among 40 under 20 Global Teen Leaders of 2021 of the We Are Family Foundation, co-founded and chaired by Grammy Award Winning Artist Nile Rodgers.

Mirus, who grew up around the slums in Paco, Manila, spent most of his childhood helping the less fortunate despite his own family’s struggles trying to left themselves out of poverty. He did not let his situation hinder him from sharing whatever he can give to disadvantaged communities. This led him to pursue plenty of opportunities and leadership roles until he was eventually chosen to be among three Filipino students to represent the Philippines in the ASEAN Youth Conference where he was elected as the Philippine Officer of the ASEAN University Student Council Union.

Driven to empower fellow youth to be a catalyst for change for the poor and marginalized, Mirus established Youth Advocates for the Philippines in 2019. It didn’t take long for his foundation to ascend to the ASEAN Youth Advocates Network (AYAN), which is now described as a nonprofit organization that paves the way for Southeast Asian youth to experience socio-civic involvement while exploring their ASEAN identity.

Some of the things AYAN has done was to lead a two-week conference educating the youth about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals last September and to provide aid for Filipino families affected by the devastating Typhoon Ulysses last November.

Currently, AYAN has expanded to eight Southeast Asian countries and will soon reach other parts of the world with the forthcoming launch of the Global Youth Advocates Network in August 2021.

It really is no wonder that Mirus garnered this well-deserved award!

“Through the humble beginnings of Youth Advocates for The Philippines that eventually led to the ASEAN Youth Advocates Network — this honor, together with the United Nations opportunity and grant we recently received, leads us to scale globally through the Global Youth Advocates Network to launch this August,” Mirus said in his Facebook post reacting to the news.

“To those who doubted, believed, and continued to support me through this journey I never have imagined, thank you,” he continued. “To my family, friends, organizations, and everyone that I was able to encounter in this process — I promise to continue serving selflessly and genuinely.”

(ALSO READ: INSPIRING: Student Conquers Struggles of Having a Mental Disorder, Graduates with Honors)

Do you know any other inspiring Filipino youth making a change for a better future? Let us know in the comments!

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