I am a writer for a non-government organization called MEDIA, Inc. (Micro Enterprise Development and Advocacy, Inc.) for three years now. We publish a magazine bi-monthly called Kwentong Negosyo, and I (would like to) believe that we are contributing to creating positive change in other people’s lives, especially to those who have no economic capacity, and have come in terms with life through managing small businesses.
How Things Happen
Many are not aware of the existence of micro finance institutions, or lending companies, in the country. They are like banks in some ways, but they are money lenders to the poorest of the poor in hard-to-reach areas. Take for example the Aeta communities in Zambales, or those living in the island of Talim in Rizal – where even the government, Nawasa or Meralco have given up on them. They are lenders to the women of these communities, trusting them that they would use the money to put up a small carinderia or barbecue stall in the hope of eradicating poverty one step at a time. They complement this financial capacity with business and financial education, training, supervision, love and care. That’s where I come in.
What I Do
I write inspirational rags-to-riches stories, business toolkits, business ideas, and even stories of celebrity entrepreneurs to educate and inspire small entrepreneurs to grow or start their businesses. I go from Zambales to Davao and talk to small entrepreneurs. I conduct focused group discussions with these nanays to gauge the impact of micro finance in their lives. I have been a witness to thousands of empowered women with better lives now, with the collective effort of micro finance institutions, generous individuals, government and non-government organizations. This is where my strong belief that a business (however small it is) is a very powerful tool to eradicate poverty. Top this of with the right kind of motivation and education.
How This is Part of Me
I worked for this non-government organization straight out of college. I studied in a state university where we were taught to be nationalistic and to serve the country using our knowledge and talents. I am also the eldest of 5. My parents are not getting any younger. As the eldest, I dream big for my family. I want nothing but the best for them. I want to invest in my own business someday – something that my kids would inherit from me.
For others, it would be very easy to leave. But as I surround myself with social entrepreneurs and people who make our country better one person at a time, seeing all these changes, experiencing them first hand.. well, it somehow makes decision-making really, really hard. How can I leave when I know there are faceless heroes out there who are giving hope to the hopeless? I want to be part of this growing hope for the country. I want to be the one to write the stories of the nanays as they move themselves up the poverty ladder. I want to talk to them, learn from them, inspire them and be inspired by their experiences.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I want my family to experience what these women are experiencing, too. I feel responsible for my family, being the eldest. At the same time, I want to be part of this unknown, unpopular yet so noble of a cause for the country. Right this very moment, I am somewhere in the middle of it all.