Karren Fetalvero, 26, is a member of the World YMCA Executive Committee. She is based in the Philippines, and has been involved for a long time with the YMCA movement. She strives for a world where young people are encouraged to be bold and outspoken.
Karren is a busy student: she is completing her Master of Arts in Development Policy while working at the Czech Embassy in Manila as an assistant to the Ambassador and as a coordinator on Human Rights, Gender Equality, and Public Diplomacy.
In June 2021, Karren was one of the moderators of the YMCA Youth Led Solutions Summit on The Future of Work. “I am very thankful to the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs, the World YMCA, and the organizers of the summit for entrusting me with this kind of responsibility”, she shares. “I learned a lot from the speakers during the summit, and it was inspiring to see big organizations, private firms, and government institutions working together to highlight a topic that is very relevant”.
She also participated in the sessions focusing on the Creative Economy: “I design graphics for my work, I write personal blog posts, and I also create my own podcasts with my friends. Personally, I see the creative industry as not only one of the wheels that can drive economic growth, but as way to establish a brand for every country. The creativity encompassed in the industry helps preserve and promote the culture of a place, for instance through music and film. The challenge now is to make the industry more dynamic and innovative”.
The Future of Work summit was also a great way to support young people during this difficult time: “I learned how great the impact of the pandemic is, especially on young people working in vulnerable industries. It also provided us a deeper insight on the long-term risks”, explains Karren.
“To me, it is very important that, as we are hopefully recovering from the pandemic, we should continue to equip ourselves with the necessary competencies that are useful in the future. I was amazed at the goal of the Summit to impart knowledge to the participants and to encourage the youth to create programmes and projects which they could implement and which will, in turn, benefit more people”.
She is a long-time friend of the YMCA, and brings to it all her hopes and enthusiasm: “I was the President of the High School Youth (Hi-Y) club of YMCA Makati. After my graduation, I joined YMCA Makati as a staff member for almost a year. In 2017, I was an intern for the Global Alternative Tourism Network (GATN) programme of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs. And in 2018, I was elected as a member of the Executive Committee of the World YMCA”.
Karren Fetalvero reflects on how the crisis has shaped a difficult context for young people. “We never imagined how 2020 would turn out, even in an interconnected world. We were put on ‘pause’ – even on ‘stop’. The pandemic has exacerbated the inequality already existing, revealed the flaws in both our political and economic systems, and been a challenge to young people. Our resilience has carried us to where we are now. It has allowed us to keep on surviving and hopefully, thriving.”
She concludes: “While we continue to be resilient in spite of the adversities we face, our creativity will fuel us to do better and find better ways”.