Civic Sparks: Igniting Engagement for a Brighter Tomorrow

In the quest to supercharge civic engagement in Southeast Asia, the first step is to tackle a substantial roadblock: gender inequality and knowledge accessibility. Three YSEALI pioneers confront these challenges with power and passion to move the needle.

Through their dedication, these young catalysts weave innovative strategies and develop resources to lay a robust foundation for a future characterized by equity, inclusivity, and informed engagement.

Maulina’s Passion for Change

Growing up among ten siblings, Moli, short for Maulina Sari, experienced the far-reaching effects of restricted access to educational opportunities. Her journey transcends when she becomes a part of Rumput Liar, an organization dedicated to providing fundamental knowledge and enhancing social skills for underprivileged children in remote areas.

“To explore themselves more, they need access to information; then, they can gain more confidence,” she said. Realizing that knowledge is the gateway to change a person’s life, Moli dedicates herself to empowering Acehnese youth.

From grassroots to governance: Moli’s journey in empowering Acehnese youth, one step at a time

As a project manager at Yayasan Aceh Hijau, Moli leads Adeloscent Circles, a 360-degree training program that facilitates youths at the grassroots. The program includes workshops on policy advocacy and government fundamentals. The project aims to bolster adolescents’ capacity and skills. Since its establishment in 2021, the project has reached 35 villages in Aceh, expanding to 14 villages and 14 Islamic institutions this year alone.

Moli aims to advocate for policies ensuring youth representation in decision-making processes. With the support grant of the YSEALI Summit 2023 Professional Development Grant, she is taking IELTS to complete her application for a Master’s program in Social Development.

Lily’s Journey of Grit and Growth

Lily Lwin is a seasoned public health practitioner with a background in Dental Surgery. Her eight-year commitment has improved public health, particularly in Myanmar’s conflict-affected remorse areas, and empowered women through the YSEALI Women Core Leadership Team.

As a leader at the U.S. ASEAN: Women’s Leadership Academy for YSEALI in 2021 and a country lead at the YSEALI Women’s Leadership Academy Alumni Network since 2022, Lily advocates for gender equality. Lily finds solace in having a network where women support each other fully.

Through her experience visiting rural areas, she exhibits remarkable resilience, diligently making a difference one step at a time. Facing first-hand challenges in the male-dominated field of her career, where women’s leadership is often questioned, Lily strived to dismantle existing gender barriers and gender-based biases.

“You own your magic, so nail it.” She believes that by uplifting others, barriers can be broken down to create a more inclusive society. Lily’s philosophy serves as a rallying call to embrace one’s unique strengths and persevere in pursuing meaningful goals.

Lily at the Power Up Convention 2023 with her fellow empowered support system.

Lae’s Philanthropic Path in Healthcare

Soutthida Phetdala, known as Lae, grew up in a small town in northern Laos. Her dynamic career involves overcoming challenges related to limited learning centers, leading her to become a Community Engagement Coordinator in a health organization. Lae is committed to strengthening local governance and enhancing the health sector.

Beyond Lae’s full-time commitments, she leads initiatives in Youth Speak workshops to teach public speaking and confidence building. Collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Home Affairs, she transcends local authorities and health providers’ capabilities. Lae wants to bridge the gap between local authorities, health providers, and the community through a holistic approach and inclusive involvement.

She shared her mission for her future: “I would like to continue what I’m doing now, distributing for young people who are willing to continue this part and keep doing it. Young people should be able to speak and gain confidence in themselves.”

Empowering Southeast Asian Changemakers

Moli, Lily, and Lae’s stories unfold a transformative progress toward a more equitable future. Youth participation and strong advocacy are potent catalysts, shaping a brighter path. In this direction, YSEALI promotes accessible knowledge and backs emerging leaders.

Guided by these pioneers, the community has the potential to cultivate a society that is more inclusive and impactful. The moment for leadership and positive change is upon us. Let’s unite to celebrate the remarkable contributions to civic engagement in Southeast Asia.

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