The lack of sexuality and gender awareness in the Philippines can be quite alarming, although, there is still great news: more and more advocates are using their platforms to educate not only the youth of our country, but also the older generations.
Amerela PH not only advocates for reproductive and sexual healthcare in the Philippines, but also fights for women empowerment and gender inclusivity. With the pandemic and the requirement to shift our lives online, Amerela PH currently holds frequent webinars that educate people on the topics that not many people talk about.
We asked Amarela PH’s founder, Nina Co, a few questions to deeper understand the true intention of Amarela PH, and why it is important to advocate for issues that a handful of people lack awareness of.
1. What inspired you to start Amarela PH?
I was inspired to start Amarela because of the issue that our country faces when it comes to women’s health. There aren’t enough resources for sexual and reproductive healthcare, especially within the context of the Filipino community; this was the main reason that [pushed me] to step up and address these issues. We also saw a lack in youth initiatives that tackle SRH, which could be [due to] the stigma surrounding sex in the country. Creating a platform where people could talk about it freely and openly was definitely something that we aimed for.
2. What were the best and worst parts of running the organization?
The best part of being in Amarela is hearing feedback from people that we’ve helped. Knowing that people are thankful and grateful for what we do helps us continue what we’re doing, because it’s a constant reminder that we create positive change in people’s lives when it comes to women’s health! A challenge that we face when we fight for our advocacies is the backlash we face from people that don’t agree with us–however, we always continue to try our best to respect people with different ideas, while protecting our members and supporters as well.
3. What challenges did Amarela Ph face upon starting out, and how did you overcome them?
A challenge that we faced was also in relation to our advocacies, as people sometimes disagreed with the way we executed our ideas. We always welcome constructive criticism though, because we will always grow and become better through the feedback of our audience.
4. Has COVID-19 changed the pace for Amarela Ph? If so, how?
Shifting to a fully online set-up has been pretty tough, since most of our members are still in school–thus, being able to balance school, work, friends, and self is super challenging, as [everything is done] mainly online. Being in the same space as everything else can truly take a toll on someone, so we’ve tried our best to minimize our projects so that everyone can balance Amarela with their other commitments.
5. What message would you give to aspiring Filipinas who want to advocate change in society?
Just do it! Don’t be scared of what people would say, and don’t be scared of being judged. I always tell myself not to care, because letting myself [get] affected by what other people think won’t do any good for ME; if you have an advocacy, and you have the passion to fight for it, take the leap of faith! We’ll always need more good-doers in the world.