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  • YAFS

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If you take the time to visit the Adolescent Reproductive Health Peer Educators Club, the following sight will meet your eyes: a blue banner reading “ARH-PEC” beckons students to enter an empty classroom with wooden armchairs. Tacked on the wall outside is the message: “ARH—It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS but no one should die of ignorance.” Hanging from the door frame is this commitment: “Adolescent Reproductive Health: Says NO to Pre-Marital Sex.” Indeed, the teachers and students behind this club mean business.
                Students who wish to share their various concerns about their reproductive health, love, sex and courtship drop by the ARH-PEC where ARH Coordinator, Ms. Gina Huevos, is always ready to lend a hand. Trained and willing peer educators also welcome the opportunity to lend an ear to those who need someone to be there for them. The atmosphere exuded by the ARH room is casual but confidentiality is always a priority. If student-clients are more comfortable talking outside or anywhere around the campus, peer educators can meet them there. Becoming a Peer Educator is all about genuine desire to be of assistance after all.
Past President Rondel A. Abueva of IV-Lakandula, who saw a thirteen year old friend get pregnant and mentioned how this spurned him to act, shared his reason for becoming a peer educator: “Willingness lang po talaga. You have to have the heart to work and help other schoolmates.”

When asked about the problems their schoolmates and people their age are up against, Rondel points out belonging to gangs in addition to early pregnancy. Peer Educator Ma. Elena B. Concon mentioned students showing rebellious behaviour. And the root problem of it all? Family problems—or more specifically, the lack of attention parents give their children.
Current President Zyra Mie S. Elcarte put it this way: “They (students) lack love in their family. That’s why they look for it somewhere else.” Teens have a hard time processing the family situation and
try to find friends their age to whom they can vent. This can then give way to adolescents exploring the likelihood of having a relationship with the opposite sex for the sake of experience and to deal with peer pressure. Boredom can also become a good enough reason, says Zyra.

                Adolescents want to open up to their parents, but when that seems next to impossible, it becomes all the more crucial to have a support system in school. “Kasi hindi po lahat ng magulang open. Example po, magshare ka po about love, then yung parents mo, magagalit, ay wag muna dyan, ganyan, ganyan. Then parang yung heart mo, nabe-break kasi kung kailan mo sila kailangan, hindi po sila handa,” shares Rondel. He however adds: “Siguro po gusto nila na magkaroon po kami ng magandang buhay sa future naming. Yung iba po, hindi po maganda yung experience nila in the past kaya hindi po nila gusto na mangyari rin po yun sa amin.” And understanding that makes these students all the wiser. It is this level of understanding that we want our youth to gain— and also the hope that more and more families will begin to look at their children as those very much in need of their care.



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