Boyet Dy thinks it’s time for us to stop talking about changing “the world.” Instead, the Manila local is encouraging me to change “my world” — one action at a time.
One Tama is a campaign 26-year-old Boyet, a government employee in the Philippines, created to show how the little things add up. (Tama is the Filipino word for “right.”) The idea is that by simply sharing your good actions, you can inspire others to do the same. Using a nifty number counter, for example, the site shows 1744 completed deeds ranging from carpooling to listening, with over four thousand more in progress.
One Tama also encourages real world interaction by hosting Action Days, such as simultaneous use of recyclable bags at the grocery store.
Intentions to action
A couple years ago, Boyet was listening to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack when David Bowie’s “Heroes” popped on. The lyrics “Just for one day/We can be heroes” made him think about his fellow Filipinos. “That was the genesis of One Tama, and it’s really the notion of everyday heroism – that every single day is loaded with opportunities to be a hero for your country because there’s always a right action within your reach that can be done,” he says.
Boyet then presented the idea to a group of dedicated and diverse idealists he had been a part of since college. The group was enthusiastic from the getgo, and he found that their shared values was an incredible asset as well as their willingness to ask others for help. The website, for example, was voluntarily created by a nonprofit communications group he serendipitously met while building One Tama.
Of course, the campaign is not without its challenges. One Tama is soley run by volunteers, and their current obstacles are to find more volunteers and funding sources.
But let’s say you like this idea and think you can address these challenges. What would you need to copy this in your community? An intimate, committed group to initially help get it off the ground, and outside experts to fill in the knowledge gaps. It also helps to have a succinct catchphrase to explain the idea and a firm belief that change can happen on an individual level. “At its core, the One Tama campaign is not merely a call to be a good Filipino – it is a call to be a good human being which makes it not only applicable but also relevant in other contexts,” says Boyet.
Have you done something small recently that counts as one tama?