Two Filipinos bring pride to the Philippines as they enter the roster of this year’s JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of theWorld (JCI TOYP).
HIV advocate and educator Ronivin “Vinn” Pagtakhan, and political analyst and academician Richard Javad Heydarian are joining eight other young active global citizens as honorees of the 2018 JCI TOYP. Other honorees came from Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Romania, Syria, Turkey and United Kingdom.
For his compassion for those living with HIV and dedication to empower the LGBT community, Vinn Pagtakhan has been named JCI TOYP Honoree in the category of humanitarian and voluntary leadership.
Over the past decade, cases of HIV have increased exponentially in the Philippines, one of the few countries with a rising incidence of the disease at an average of 31 diagnoses per day. The growth is attributed to the lack of knowledge on HIV prevention, care and support, which has worsened by the stigma around HIV causing many individuals to hide and avoid seeking help.
Pagtakhan started on Twitter by giving honest and accessible health advice to people asking, mostly about HIV and sexually transmitted infections. This brought Pagtakhan and six of his friends to establish the organization LoveYourself in 2011.
LoveYourself aims to open self-sustaining resource centers for the youth and LGBT communities, offering free HIV-related services such education, testing and counseling, treatment, care and support, as well as to become a model community to other community-based HIV organizations around the Philippines.
To date, Pagtakhan’s serves free HIV testing to nearly 30,000 clients yearly on its three community centers, and free HIV treatment to around 2,500 Filipinos living with HIV. The organization bridges the gaps in the HIV continuum of care by scaling up HIV testing, linking diagnosed persons with treatment and counseling, and creating a community that has led to reduced loss of life.
Moreover, Pagtakhan empowers the LGBT community and the Filipino youth to recognize their own value and self-worth, take care of their health and well-being, and in the process, join in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Political, Legal and Governmental Affairs
As a leading global expert on security issues across Asia, Richard Javad Heydarian earned a spot in this year’s JCI TOYP.
Heydarian primarily uses his communication skills – writing – for Filipinos to further understand the country’s geopolitical and national issues in an effort to influence a better socioeconomic and political thinking of the Philippine society.
Along with writing renowned publications including How Capitalism Failed the Arab World and most recently The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt Against Elite Democracy, Heydarian serves as a non-partisan policy adviser and socially-engaged scholar to explore the most pressing political and socioeconomic challenges of our time.
Heydarian has written around 1000 articles and a common resource person by leading local and international media outlets.
Through these regular media engagements, Heydarian was able to inform not only Filipinos but all citizens of the world, and raise consciousness about the key challenges facing the world for a more constructive national and international dialogue, inspiring a new generation of leaders who will push boundaries to create positive and lasting change for a better Philippines and a better world.
The Junior Chamber International Ten Oustanding Young People of the World
JCI (Junior Chamber International) honors ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year. These individuals exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission and provide extraordinary service to their communities. Whether through service, innovation, determination or revolutionary thinking, these young active citizens create positive impact on a local and global level.
These ten exceptional individuals will be honored at the 2018 JCI Awards Ceremony featuring the 2018 JCI TOYP Honorees on 2 November 2018 at the 2018 JCI World Congress in Goa, India.
Junior Chamber International
JCI is a nonprofit organization of young active citizens age 18 to 40 whose purpose is providing development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change around the world, uniting all sectors of society to create sustainable impact. For more information, visit: www.jci.cc.
Text by Bet Domingo