trying to make a difference

Global Xchange Team 107

A single butterfly flapping it wings can cause a hurricane half across the globe.

This may sound poetic, or even implausible, but some volunteers of the Global Exchange Program (GXP) believe that they can help create that spark and start the fire burning for youth volunteerism in the Philippines and around the world.

Putting the internet to good use, this year’s volunteers or Team 107 created the first ever GXP volunteers’ project dubbed as The Butterfly Effect Project.

“We based this on the chaos theory. A single butterfly flapping its wings in this particular place can cause a hurricane. The same with this project, that no matter how small it is, this would ultimately make a difference for somebody, a group of people and ultimately for the world.,” explains 24-year-old GXP volunteer Anthony Ross Zuniga.

GXP is a project of the Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) in partnership with the British Council Philippines. Participants do a three-month volunteer work in the United Kingdom and another three months in the country. Aside from Zuniga, Team 107 is composed of Mark Aethen Agana, 22; Dionell Chris Batoon, 21; Margarita Victoria Caballa, 21; Joseph Eduard Larano III,, 20; Desiree May Llanos Dee, 21; April Karnette Maniacup, 21; Karl Benson Molina, 21; and Christina Lucia Marian Palami, 24.

The UK group is composed of David Thompson, 23; Bridget Hutchings, 18; Patrick Dougherty, 18; Rachelle Kitty Francis, 22; Renata de Groot, 22; Dani Sempers, 23; Neil James Thomson-Turner, 23; Sam Rowles, 18; and Michael Hoban, 19.


The Butterfly Project is a website where the GXP volunteers upload videos of their experiences during their volunteer work starting in the UK, and then the Philippines. It is really like a reality show, but online.

“One small act of kindness, one small act of change can elicit a bigger change in the future. We’re going to do that first by creating this website. It’s like a reality show wherein you get the young people of the Philippines, the young people of the world to actually experience global exchange through us,” Zuniga shares.

The group will update the website of their real-life experiences “Hopefully these people will get inspired not just to join the program but also to act out and speak out and make a difference,” Zuniga says.

The website is likewise connected to their Facebook and Twitter account where they can interact with the website’s visitors.


GXP member volunteer April Maniacup quit her job to do developmental work.

“Eversince college, I’ve been thinking of how I could be of help to the Philippines.

I quit my job when I reached a crossroad. I realized that I want to do developmental work so I worked for the Red Cross,” April shares. “When I thought of the program, I think it’s an avenue for me to really experience working from below and I can really say to the people that I did something.”

The group hopes that young people like them can set aside their doubts and fears and create that change. “Because sometimes the real question that people ask is how to start. How can I start giving back? How can I start creating that change? I’m just one voice, can I really make a difference?” Zuniga relates.

The Butterfly project urges the young to go into something bigger than themselves.

“This particular project answers all that question, even with one voice, one individual with one motive, if we combine those intentions and those motives it can bare something bigger than ourselves. We shouldn’t be afraid to make the first step because the first step is really the hardest but once you do the first step, the second, the third, and even the final step much easier. It’s just the fear that stops us from actually doing something,” he adds.

VISIT: http://thebutterflyeffectproject.com/
Article by Angelo Garcia. Published in Manila Bulletin last May 10.

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