“We must start being conscious of our reality.”
Nurjehan Dimacangun, a student and youth leader from Balo-i, Lanao del Norte, urges fellow young people and community members to start thinking critically and put in mind the importance of achieving lasting peace and a safer environment.
Growing up, Nurjehan admits being an introvert but is unafraid of speaking the truth. She highlights peace as one of the essential pillars of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
But what does Nurjehan mean by this?
“I used to idealize our community as a very peaceful place, that was until I went out of my comfort bubble. It came to my knowledge that there are civilians walking around with guns underneath their shirts, and sometimes I could hear gun shots from afar,” shared Nurjehan.
To her, these no longer became alarming and concerning. “But certainly, these aren’t things that are normal,” she added.
Questions such as, ‘Why are they carrying guns?’ ‘Are they a threat to the community?’ ‘Do they feel unsafe?’ or, ‘Is there a conflict going on that might affect us?’, have clouded young minds like Nurjehan in her community.
“The thing is, we are limited to asking these questions because these are situations that are normalized by our Maranao practice of ‘rido’ or clan feud,” Nurjehan explained, emphasizing that this is not the kind of environment that she wants to cultivate and grow up in.
Feuds, where conflicting families have a never-ending cycle of vendetta killings, make peace and conflict situations worse. Some families have to leave their normal lives, hide, and keep their children away from the dangerous circumstances caused by ‘rido’.
As a youth influencer, Nurjehan continues to be part of activities that promote peace and educate others about conflict issues, such as ‘rido’ to her fellow youth. More determined and positive after undergoing the Digital Tech Camp, she shared, “The time is now to end the long-time agony caused by family feuds. I do not want to cultivate the culture of ‘rido’, not for my generation, and not for the future generations.
Nurjehan Dimacangun, is a Digital Tech Camp (DTC) graduate of Equal Access International-Philippines and is one of the 2021 Peace Promotion Fellows. In her DTC Storybox session entry, she shared that ‘rido’ or clan feud is one of the pressing issues she observes in the community. She hopes for a community that truly wants what is best for the children and the common good. To achieve it, she believes that working towards peace and development is the answer.