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Emilia O. Zozobrado

About Me: 

I was born in a sleepy hometown I considered paradise in my childhood years. It's a place where everybody knows everybody, where people outside home is the bigger family. Until Martial Law was declared and resistance sprang out around us. I never experienced being caught in an armed conflict because I live in a place which is strongly secured by a big military contingent. So being, my tales of woe never landed in the news. My plight is something that has never been talked about because I was "not a victim". And then the word "collateral damage" that was invented much much later struck me. That was my label.

I saw fully armed men, war tanks, fighter jets and all the ingredients of war around me ... but I never knew what war was like because there never was any war in my place. But it was in my homeland where the attacks and counter attacks were hatched and implemented. And, yes, it was my own "safe and secure" place that hosted evacuees from our war-torn neighborhood.

With the victims we suffered the same plight. The resources which used to be more than enough for all of us constituents proved to be dismally inadequate. It was imperative to share our homes, our homeland, and everything there is to share because the evacuees had no homes to go back to. One day I woke up to find I had no more slippers to wear ... no more place in the river to bathe ... and worse, I had to join the long queue each time for two (2) kilograms of rice, our staple food. But the world does not see my plight because I don't get wounded in the war, I do not have to leave my house and seek shelter somewhere else, and I don't have to scramble out of my dignity to survive a trauma. In short, I am not a victim. But I went hungry, thirsty, tired and wanting all the time. In fact, school closed early because the buildings were used as evacuation centers. It was a most inconvenient life and I was only a teenager. But it was at that time that I learned to dream and pursue it.

I now hold a Master's degree in Business Administration. I finished the degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Accountancy through a state scholarship grant. I spent the early years of my career in the corporate world. However, for the last eight years I have engaged myself in a turnaround journey to where my dream was born. I am now working for peace and sustainable development in my own homeland. Whatever it is that I can share, I will give it my best shot ... for whatever it takes, for all it is worth.

My Passions: 
My interest in humanity - the diversity of cultures.
My Challenges: 
I want to rise above misconceptions and distorted values by reaching out for truth, justice and beauty through caring and sharing.
My Vision for the Future: 
A world where harmony and symbiosis is at the core of its culture.
My Areas of Expertise: 
public speaking, research and interview, writing, networking and linkaging, organizing, monitoring and evaluation, interfaith, gender sensitivity, women empowerment
My Languages: 
English, Filipino

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