Class VII (2009-2010)

8. Pamela Padilla

Sponsor Club: Mandaluyong – Pasig - San Juan, Philippines, District 3800

 

Her life as a peace and human rights advocate began in June 2005 when she started working for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process as a Project Development Officer for the Government of the Republic of the Philippines Monitoring Committee (GRP-MC). This office monitors and ensures compliance to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

This brought her all over the Philippines supervising and coordinating the continuing education and information campaign for the government security forces on HR and IHL. She also coordinated and monitored awareness raising and capability-building efforts in the establishment of local monitoring bodies and peace networks, which help address human rights violations and provide education on peace strategies at the grassroots level. Dealing with cases of human rights violations resulting from the armed conflict was daunting but there were stories of successes where cultures of peace survived and thrive. These showed her that paths to peace can be built even in the most violent of conflicts. It is with this conviction that she applied for the Rotary Fellowship.

Pamela completed her internship with the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, a non-governmental organization, which facilitates a broad range of training and advocacy programs to grassroots organizations and community leaders to empower people to promote a culture of human rights. During her time there, she worked on their regional advocacy campaign to “Stop the Use of Child Soldiers in Burma”. This renewed her interest in child rights protection and advocacy in her own country where child soldier recruitment and use is also a problem. At the end of the Program, she plans to return to the Philippines and still work in the field of human rights protection and promotion with a focus on children’s rights most probably working with an NGO. It is her hope that with all these experiences, she will return a more capable and valuable peace and human rights worker for her country.

She would like to express her deepest gratitude to the Rotary Foundation, all Rotarians, particularly, the RC of MANPASAN- Philippines for sponsoring her, RC of Hamilton and Toowomba City for hosting her in Australia, RC of Ferrymead for hosting her in the 9970 District Conference in New Zealand, the UQ Staff and especially her family and friends for supporting her and for making this journey a truly enriching and life-changing experience.