Make Your Voice Count

#HealingAndEquality Mandala Campaign for IDAHOT 2020

By YVC Secretariat – Friday, May 15, 2020

This International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) 2020, we celebrate through online engagement as the world continues to be under country-wide lockdowns and quarantine measures brought about by COVID-19. Youth Voices Count, in partnership with MYRainbow, is calling for our LGBTI siblings and allies to call for Equality and Healing. 

Why Mandalas, you may ask? Mandalas are geometric figures representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism. Mandalas have concentric circles that grow outwardly and these represent harmony and fullness of the mind. They are also known to reduce anxiety, tension, and stress as a form of art therapy. A form of healing of the mind, the spirit, and the body. As we call to end anti-LGBTQ stigma, violence, discrimination and oppression, let us break the silence and share messages of hope and unity through our mandalas. 

#IDAHOT2020 #HealingAndEquality #BreakingTheSilence

Blossomger - The Dawn Of Life (Hi Res)

“’And suddenly you know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings’ Heal thyself. Love thyself.

Nathalie Dadian from Mandalas of the World joins our campaign with her original work entitled, “New Beginnings”. She describes this particular Mandala, with vibrant hues of blue, as having a powerful energy of healing. We have also asked other persons from different parts of the world to share their beautiful Mandalas. Here are their submissions with message of #equality and #healing for LGBTIQ+ folk. 

“There is nothing more beautiful than diversity. We need to celebrate diversity every day, but until differences between people are at least respected, there will not be equality. We, the young people, have the power to change the world around us and the world within us. Starting today, by pointing out to our neighbor, mom, dad, cousin the beauty of diversity and the importance of equality.”

Jelena Mitrovic (Serbia)
Youth Action Team, CIVICUS

“Without ending discrimination and stigma against MSM and MSW communities we can not achieve the goal of providing them with friendly health care facilities to lead a healthy lifestyle.”

Aadi Baig (Pakistan)
Project Manager, Wasaib Sanwaro

“We need to end discrimination and phobia against our community, specially by policy makers because policy makers are the one who creates policies either in favor or against the rights of the community.”

Ali Raza Khan (Pakistan)
Coordinator, Wasaib Sanwaro

“Just as the colors of Mandalas represent harmony and the act of making it peace, may this help usher both in our fight for acceptance and diversity.”

Irish Inoceto (Philippines)
Chairperson, Iloilo Pride Team

May love prevails in the times of darkness.”

Alberto (Malaysia)

“Listen and trust your inner soul for what it says, it is wiser than your heart.”

Jake (Malaysia)

“I am beautiful, so are you. Love yourself and find the strength to stand up in spite of the odds and inequalities.”

M.S. (Malaysia)

“In this time of lockdown it is important and necessary to be around people that support us. But we know there are LGBTQIA+ folks that are not in a safe place even if they are at their “Home”. My mandala is inspired by an ancient symbol for harmony. My interpretation for this is that as each of us are different in many ways we could actually live in harmony. We may not know what other people are or the way they are but as for being human, “you don’t need to understand to give respect”. With all the hard work of different LGBTQIA+ and Human rights organisations to educate, to inform the society of how divers humanity and continue such activities like this, will, one day the world will learn to respect differences.”

AJ Rence Viñas (Philippines)

I believe each individual has their own rights to live in pride with authenticity and integrity, inner intelligence, courage and positive insight can be a tremendous change to live it proudly.”

Rokonol Rabbi (Bangladesh)
Program Officer, SERAC-Bangladesh

“In these uncertain times, our voices must resonate more loudly than ever. This #IDAHOT2020, let’s break the silence against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia and call for equality and equity.”

Jeff Acaba (Philippines)
Program Officer, APCASO

“We all are bright with our own color. let’s shine together like Rainbow.”

Sarker Tringsharaj Rishi (Bangladesh)
Member, Bandhu Social Welfare Society
Core Working Group, Youth Voices Count

“#BreakingTheSilence as this years IDAHOT theme reminds us that the discrimination and oppression of LGBTIQ+ persons still persist in many parts of the world. As many of us continue to stand up and fight oppression, let us commemorate this day as a reminder that our human rights are not subject to debate.”

Justin Francis Bionat (Philippines)
Executive Director, Youth Voices Count

“A pandemic like COVID19 does not discriminate so it can affect all of us but we can heal faster as individuals and communities when we are in the fights against pandemic together, and no one is left behind.”

Tebeio Tamton (Kiribati)
Technical Advisor & Co-Founder, Boutokaan Inaomataia ao Mauriia Binabinaine Association (BIMBA)

“Breaking the silence means deliberating ourselves from the past, decolonsing the mind, body and spirit in a sense undoing colonial violence and undoing the violence left behind heteronomativity.”

Kalisto Biaukula (Fiji)
Diversity and Inclusion Group for Networking and Action (DIGNA) Advisory Group, CIVICUS

Watch one of our campaign participants capturing a timelapse of the creation of their beautiful Mandala.

Share post

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Board Member

Jan is passionate about seeing through the potential contributions of psychological sciences and human rights advocacy in LGBT people’s lives. He is currently Program Associate of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus and is a member of the LGBT Psychology Special Interest Group of the Psychological Association of the Philippines. He has written for various platforms and publications on a diverse range of topics from gender and sexuality to human rights experiences in different contexts. Jan’s desire is to engage in productive and meaningful work that bridges scholarship with practice rooted in people’s real experiences.


Graphic Designer

Currently, Nico is a college student studying in the Philippines and is simultaneously working for Youth Voices Count as one of the graphic designers for the organization. He lists producing the brand logo and look of HRPlus Asia as one of his significant achievements. His interests in literature and creating films have also honed and continued to improve his skills in graphic designing.


Social Media Officer

Jan Ella is currently taking up her undergraduate studies at the University of the Philippines Visayas and has been a consistent academic awardee since 2019. She is involved in various organizations such as the Catalyst UPV as the Volunteer Director in 2021, former Publications Committee Head for UP Lipad and former member of Iloilo Pride Team.


Project Finance Officer

Je-ann is the current Project Finance Officer under the Finance Department. She graduated from the University of San Agustin with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major
in Marketing Management.

Her involvement in her University’s Little Theater organization led her to find an interest in theater, films and the arts. Aside from theater arts, she also partakes in the company’s production work including stage management and most notably, heading the organization’s marketing team.


Accounting Associate

Marion graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting Technology which has made her suitable for being the Accounting Associate of Youth Voices Count. She lists watching movies as one of her hobbies that helps her wind down during her leisure time.


Legal Counsel

She is a graduate of AB Political Science from West Visayas State University (WVSU), in Iloilo City. In her days in college, she was the founding Prime Minister of WVSU Debate Circle, the ROTC Corps Commander and later a Volunteer Instructor in the Air Force Reserve Command. When she ran for the first time in their University Student Council, she was elected number one councilor. Her interest in leadership grew when she joined the 10th National Youth Parliament, organized by the National Youth Commission in 2014, where she later on became the Regional Convener for Western Visayas.

She then pursued her studies to take up law in San Beda University in Mendiola, Manila. As a law student, she was still active in student organizations: She joined moot court competitions, she served as layout artist in 2 of San Beda Law’s Official Publications: The Barrister and San Beda Law Journal. In her last year in law school, she was the President of San Beda Law Human Rights Advocate (HRA), where she was later conferred Leadership Award by the Association of Law Students of the Philippines (ALSP) and her organization, HRA was awarded top advocacy organization.

She passed the 2019 Bar Examinations and became a full-fledged lawyer by 2020.

She worked as Associate of Javier Santiago Torres & Panghulan Law Offices. She now runs her own RLB Law Office as a solo practitioner and serves as Notary Public for and in Quezon City. She serves as legal consultant to MSMEs and Non-profit organizations. At present, she is the Vice President for Communications of the National Society of Parliamentarians, Inc., the Chief Legislative Staff of Councilor Quin Cruz of Pasig City Council and part-time law instructor in Malayan Colleges Laguna – a Mapua School. Interestingly, she is the creator and blogger of The Young Lawyer PH. Recently, she served as Resident Parliamentarian during the Bangsamoro Youth Parliament held last Nov. 7-11, 2022 at Cotabato City.

A lawyer by profession and an artist by heart.


Admin Officer

An advocate at heart, Louela is a part of several youth-led organizations in the Philippines with various advocacies ranging from climate justice, environmental protection, gender equality, human rights, SRHR, mental health prioritization, youth empowerment and HIV/AIDS awareness. She is currently the Interim Chairperson of Iloilo Pride Team after serving the organization for 4 years as the Admin Officer, Executive Secretary at Proyekto Philippines, Member of Team Dugong Bughaw, and more.

She graduated as Summa Cum Laude at West Visayas State University majoring in English Language Studies and is currently taking up her Masters in English Language Studies at the same institution. During her stay at the university, she served as the Vice Chairperson at the University Student Council and Federated Student Council where she organized programs and initiatives that advocated for student involvement in societal causes and being the voice of the students that lobbies their concerns to the administration.

In July 2022, she was awarded by JCI Regatta as one of the Top Outstanding Students in Iloilo and a Top Circle Awardee which is the most prestigious recognition given by the award-giving body.


Project Officer

Ronan passed the Philippines nursing licensure exam in 2022 immediately after graduating his Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of San Agustin. While juggling his academics, he was elected governor of his college’s student council (Nursing Student Council) in 2021 and board member in 2019 where he was awarded the leadership award and Agustino para sa Tao award due to his excellence in service. He is also a certified Safety Officer (SO1) after completing his training.

He is currently a dialysis nurse in training. He handles the Intersex projects of YVC.


Marshall Islands
He/Him, They/Them
Project Officer for IGNITE! Empowerment Grants Program

Having done some activism for the Marshall Islands both locally and regionally with climate change, youth empowerment, LGBTQI rights, and nuclear injustice, Nenol takes pride in being an advocate for the causes he is passionate in, being a part of Youth Voices Count and taking a step in amplifying young LGBTQI+ voices. This also inspired him to co-found the first Marshallese LGBTQI Youth Support called Brighten the Rainbow. He is featured in “We Have a Dream” which is a collection of stories from young leaders around the world.


Sri Lanka
Project Manager

Tharindi is currently a feminist activist and researcher based in Sri Lanka, and has worked with the Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka (YANSL). They are a trainer on advocating for comprehensive sexuality education and providing knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) where they actively advocate for safe abortion and bodily autonomy for women.

One of Tharindi’s brainchild initiatives is an Instagram page which mainly focuses on the process of reaching out to queer women in Sri Lanka, a platform that helps in providing them visibility and strategy direction on programming through social media and other means.

They have completed their Bachelors (BA Honors) in English and Linguistics at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka.


Finance Manager

Johnmel M. Estimar is the founder and senior adviser of La Villa Pride, a grassroots-level organization for LGBTQI in Villa, Iloilo. They are also a member of the Iloilo Pride team, a Community Based Screening motivator for HIV and an LGBTQI Rights Activist. Miles, as they like to be called, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University-Molo, Inc. They also hold an Associate Degree in Cruise Ship Management in the same University.

They have ample experience in clerk and accounting work for nine years from their previous employer, they are currently employed with Youth Voices Count as Finance Manager since 2019.


He/Him, They/Them
Deputy Executive Director

Mx. Toni graduated with a bachelor’s degree of secondary education majoring in English at the Capiz State University back in 2021. Aside from this, they sought out other educational opportunities such as Advocacy and Project Management at the Women Deliver Digital University (2015), International Women’s Health and Human Rights at Stanford University (2014), and Global Health and Humanitarianism at the University of Manchester (2013).

An advocate of many causes, they are members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, and Y-PEER Pilipinas, founder of the Y-Cap for SRHR, founder of United Colours of CapSU, and Alumnus of Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Back in 2018, they were awarded as the SDG 5 Youth Champion due to the amiable service they have rendered for gender equality.


Executive Director

A learner for life and a seeker of knowledge, Justin graduated his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Political Science at West Visayas State University, Philippines and took on a Master’s of Arts in Human Rights and Democratisation (International Program) at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University, Thailand under the APMA / European Union Scholarship. At present, Justin is pursuing a Juris Doctor (JD) degree (Law Degree) from the College of Law, University of San Agustin, Philippines.

Justin entered Youth Voices Count, Inc. in 2018 while studying in Thailand. He later took on the role of Executive Director beginning 2019 and successfully set up the legal registration of the organization in the Philippines under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since then, he has been leading the organization in various programs and projects centered around LGBTIQ children, adolescents, and youth. Outside Youth Voices Count, Inc., Justin is active in other initiatives in the field of research and law. He was a law student fellow of the Legal Education Advancement Program (LEAP) of the Legal Education Board and the UP Law Center in 2022.

As an aspiring lawyer, he hopes to one day be instrumental in providing legal support for marginalized populations. Justin has also published reports, journal articles, commentaries, and book articles in the fields of law, HIV/AIDS, LGBTIQ, and Human Rights.

In 2018, he was awarded the Young Achiever HERO Award by APCOM Foundation during the HERO Awards reception at the Royal British Embassy in Thailand for his outstanding work on equality and human rights. He is one of the Youth Council members of the Global Fund, an international financing and partnership organization that aims to “attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria”, and a Board Member of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia Committee.