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Before I was aware of Kaya Collaborative., I ignorantly assumed that the Philippines didn’t have many locals striving for social good. Yes, it was a horrible thing to assume but every time I read about initiatives helping the Philippines, they seemed to be companies from the U.S. or Europe coming in to create what they believed were sustainable solutions. And the idea bothered me a lot because I’m firmly against the notion of the white man’s burden or the savior complex. As a Filipino American, I always liked to think that the Filipinos were just as capable, if not more. They’ve just been through a lot (years of colonialism and wars). Yet,seeing the lasting negative effects of Typhoon Yolanda resulted in a big blow to my hopes for the PI.
So when I heard about Kaya and the 14 internship placements of the fellows, I regained hope for the Philippines. The fellowship itself opened my eyes to the growing social venture
movement that’s happening in the PI. And since I’ve arrived, I’ve had the pleasure to learn about more
Read on to see what types of ventures I’m referring to (in no particular order):
Gawad Kalinga is probably one of the better known social enterprises of the Philippines. Basically, they are working to alleviate the poverty that plagues this country. They are probably most known for their house-rebuilding efforts. However, GK has been doing more than that lately.
A few weeks into my stay here in the Philippines, we got to visit the first of GK’s Enchanted Farms. Basically, these Enchanted Farms will be communities outside of Metro Manilla that are filled with a farm, village and university for the communities that live there. They select the “poorest of the poor” and help them to relocate in these communities, where they will learn how to have sustainable livelihood (as farmers) or for many of the youth, learn how to be social entrepreneurs.
(Left) One of GK’s many manifestos. (Top Right) Some of the baby ducks in their animal farm. (Bottom Right) Some of the plushies created by one of the many social enterprises that started within a GK’s Enchanted Farm.
Personally, after touring their farm, I’m not sure how I feel about their model. The idea of creating outside communities to better the whole community…it kind of felt like a cult. But I am impressed by their mission and scale of their operation. There are just a few things that I’m not totally on board with yet. I did enjoy their “manifestos” though specially the one pictured above.
A few weeks ago, one of my bosses, Florence Adviento, spoke to a social enterprise class at Ateneo
along with two other social enterprises. This is where I was first introduced to Habi Footwear and where I briefly met the founder, Janine Chiong.
Just some of the Habi’s sandal designs. Eventually, they hope to use the rags to make other types of clothing too
like Habi’s concept. They partner with mothers in the following two poor urban communities: Kawan ni Sto. Niño in Old Balara in Quezon City and Saint Luigi Oriones Creations in Payatas. Habi provides them with the initial materials to weave the rags used in the Habi footwear shoe designs, which Habi then sells in its stores. I have yet to visit the actual brick and mortar shop they have in Katipunan but they do sell online! So for anyone in the states interested in buying a pair, you can check out their site online here
At the same event that I met Janine, I also met Jamir Ocampo, founder of Tsaá Daloy. Tsaá Daloy seeks to provide the public market with high quality teas that provide health benefits such as body detoxification and stress relief. They even have a chocolate chili tea to boost desire and libido (this made the class crack up, of course) but the flavor combination does sound interesting.
Where’s the social impact component? It’s in who makes the tea. Tsaá Daloy directly sources the herbal ingredients from local farmers and indigenous communities to raise their income share and to encourage them to use organic farming practices.
Meggie’s actually the girl on the left!
When I went to Banaue and Sagada, one of the other tour participants happened to be Meggie Ochoa, one of the founders of a small social enterprise known as ProoPH. This little travel/tourism company actually has a similar concept to Route +63 Travels but currently only provides tours in San Juan. They’re still within their first year but one thing that really struck me when I spoke to Meggie about her business’ concept went along the following lines: “Even though Route +63 does something very similar to ProoPH, I don’t see R63 as a competitor. Rather, I see them as a potential partner. After all, we’re both aiming prove to the world how great the Philippines.”
Well said for a young social entrepreneur.
I attended a networking event in Makati
last week and there met some of the amazing people who work for Homegrown, an online magazine based in the Philippines. Through the content they post, they’re working to provide Filipino entrepreneurs and start ups with the tools and resources needed to empower them to reach their goals. And best of all, they have a section on social good
, where you can read about some of the things happening within the Filipino social entrepreneurship sector.
Today’s Question: What types of social enterprises are you most interested in?
Categories: Philippines 2014,
Tags: Articles, Business, Clothes, Communities, Enchanted Farms, Farming, Gawad Kalinga, Habi Footwear, Homegrown, Online, Philippines, Poverty, Rags, San Juan, Sandals, Social Enterprises, Social Good, Social Ventures, Start Ups, Tea, Tourism, Traveling, Tsaa Daloy