Asmin - Photo: Greg Funnel
Asmin works for Kapamagogopa Incorporated (KI), a local peacebuilding organisation based on the Philippine island of Mindanao. We spoke to Asmin to hear about her work, how violence affected her family, and her hopes for a peaceful future. This is her story:
"My name is Asmin Monib. I’m 27 years old and I’m from Marawi City in the Philippines, on the island of Mindanao."
How did you get involved with Kapamagogopa Incorporated (KI)?
"I decided to become a volunteer with local organisation KI back in 2013 during my time at university, as part of their program placing Muslim volunteers in communities across Mindanao. I was initially placed in the Visayas region, in Sibu to be specific, for around a year. I was placed in a non-Muslim organisation in Sibu, which supports people with disabilities, and also provide services for the deaf community."
Can you share a particular memory that stands out from your volunteer placement?
"During my placement in Visayas I acted as a Filipino sign language interpreter, which was one of the big achievements. Having an interpreter really enables the hearing-impaired to have a voice, and for their message to be shared. I was involved in a case involving a young child and by supporting them to communicate through sign language I helped to ensure the deaf child had access to their rights and had their voice heard.
I would like to invite other young people to get involved in KI’s volunteer program. Every little thing really counts. I’d say to young people “do not waste your time on Facebook and on social media, those things. Maybe you can do something – be productive, become a volunteer.”
I would like to invite other young people to get involved in KI’s volunteer program. Every little thing really counts. I’d say to young people “do not waste your time on Facebook and social media, those things. Maybe you can do something – be productive, become a volunteer.”
During your time in the Visayas community did you see a change in the way the community responded to you as a Muslim?
"Yes I did. I really tried my best to share my culture with others. During my first week in the organisation, I made a presentation about being a Muslim, about the culture of the Maranaos (a predominantly-Muslim community originating on the Philippine island of Mindanao). I explained how we dress, how we eat, what are those attitudes and other that they may be interested in. It helped people understand that being a Muslim does not mean being a terrorist – that our religion is also very peaceful. We really exchanged and interacted, sharing our thoughts with our non-Muslim friends.
I really felt a change throughout my placement. At the beginning, when I was first immersed within the community, I did not feel that diversity was fully present. However, after just a couple of weeks of Muslims and non-Muslims coming together through the volunteer program and sharing common goals, religion and culture, I felt that the community I was working in became more open-minded and approachable.
We say that we build [peace] through this work to tackle prejudice between Muslims and Christians – promoting acceptance, respect and trust despite our differences."
By donating to this project, you are helping our local partners to support people like Asmin to contribute towards the health, safety, and peacefulness of their communities. A further donation of just £24 pounds today could pay for 1 months worth of peacebuilding training, while a generous donation of £216 could fully train a peacebuilder over the next 9 months. With your support, we can provide more opportunities to people like Asmin, and continue to help them to build peace in their communities. Thank you.