Arizza Nocum, 20
5th year BS Industrial Engineering, University of the Philippines Diliman; overall head, Kristiyano-Islam (KRIS) Library
Tell us more about what you do.
I head a nonprofit organization called KRIS Library that aims to promote peace and progress through education. We’ve built six public libraries around the country, and awarded nearly 400 scholarship grants to underprivileged students. We also distribute books to public schools in far-flung areas, primarily in Mindanao.
Why is it important?
I believe this mission is important because these two problems—poverty and conflict—are major roadblocks to young Filipinos who want to achieve their dreams.
What made you want to venture into something like this?
I am passionate about empowering others through education because this is how I myself had been empowered. I have been a scholar at the Philippine Science High School, and now, at the University of the Philippines. Thus, I’ve become who I am now because of an education made possible by taxes paid by Filipinos. In a way, I also want to prove, through KRIS Library, that I am paying forward the generosity that my country has shown me.
I am passionate about peace because I saw its impact in my own life. My mother is Muslim and my father is Catholic. The love they have fostered in our home shows me that this kind of unity amid diversity is also possible outside my home.
What, for you, is the future of learning?
The future of learning lies in technology. Technology will enable us to level the playing field by providing the same learning opportunity to children of farmers in Zamboanga as their wealthier counterparts in Makati.
You learn best when…
When you learn beyond homework, lectures and exams—when you apply your learning in the real world.
What is your dream for the Filipino student?
My dream is for Filipino students to have the hunger to succeed not only for themselves and for their families, but also for their country and the world. I think that the ultimate test of education is real world problem-solving. Filipino students should educate themselves so that they can tackle the biggest problems of our time: poverty, injustice, climate change, epidemics and more.
Why should young people be more involved in community building and helping others reach their potential? When you teach, you learn twice. In my experience in KRIS Library, I have aimed to empower other young people by teaching them and guiding them. Along the way, I practiced new skills, learned how to lead, pushed myself outside my comfort zone and gained the friendship of many people. Now I’ve learned that, by helping others, I was also able to help myself.