On November 16, 2016, I am Mindanao launched their Letters of Love for Mindanao project with room-to-room campaigns in Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan. During the campaigns, the issue of violent extremism in Mindanao and what the youth can do to counter it were discussed.
The main goals of I am Mindanao which are to educate the youth about violent extremism, strengthen their sense of pride as Mindanawons, and empower them to counter violent extremism were explained to the students. The team also talked about the difference between violent extremists and domestic terrorists and why violent extremism should be of their concern. The team emphasized three points in their lectures.
First is that students are extremely vulnerable because most of them are social media users and most of the recruitments occur there. Second, the students must always be vigilant and careful about what they consume on social media since some of them might absorb messages embedded with extremist ideologies without knowing it. Lastly, age doesn’t matter when it comes to countering violent extremism so you can make a difference no matter how young you are.
The campaign ended with the students writing letters to Mindanao and folding them into paper cranes which shows their support for countering violent extremism and reaching I am Mindanao’s goal of folding a thousand paper cranes.