Category: Inspiring

Why am I here?

For almost 9 years I have been in the IT sales industry.  I’ll be honest I have episodes where I ask myself the purpose of what I’m doing more than earning for myself or my family.  During those times I look at people in the medical industry and instantly I see how they are able to help and make a difference even while earning for themselves.  They make an impact to the people they are treating.  Then I also see people who go out and choose to work for non-profit agencies, for foundations.. trading the comfortable life and potential higher earnings just to help people they don’t know.  I yearn for that.  When I took a break of 5 months from work, I was able to reflect much on why am I here and for the purpose of my life.  I knew I am to make a difference by helping the poor and at the same time helping the environment for my children and the future generations.  And then I was offered a job in a company I wanted to join in 5 months ago.  It was a dillema because I feared I may not have the time to fulfill my calling if I accept the offer.  But I prayed about it and resolved that I can do this at the same time and this will help me and my husband in the much needed capital we need to pursue our dream.  And so I accepted it.  2 and half months in the job, I can say I am happy with my work because I have a great boss who supports me and doesn’t micromanage, colleagues who are helpful and fun to be with and most especially  a partner  (a dedicated Inside Sales Rep who closely works with me) who is patient enough to  bear with my sometimes bossy personality.  But as I have anticipated, I have become too busy to pursue my calling on building that social enterprise for the poor and the environment.  And I have again started asking myself what’s the purpose of selling all these computers, servers, storage, and systems in general.  People can live without it and besides there are far more pressing issues like poverty, hunger and global warming.  There was a time I again struggled going to work.  And then I prayed to God to show me why am I here, why did He place me here?  And then deals started to come in.  Deals that would help the poor and uneducated children.  One deal was for a National Household Targeting System (NHTS) for the Poor which is designed to help qualify the poorest of the poor to become one of the beneficiaries of the money grant program from the government.  Our solution will be the infrastructure that will help run that system.  🙂 Then, next is an educational institution which provides schools, systems that will help rural areas gain access from quality education from the city.  We didn’t win the first phase but the potential of us being able to win the next phase and be part of improving the educational system of the rural people are good enough reasons for me to find purpose in what I do.   And then everything started to make sense, the fact that I’m working for a company who takes saving energy and environment seriously, the opportunity to work on several government agencies to prove that we can win accounts in a clean way.. without bribe or any dirty tactics are all good reasons for me why I was placed here.  I am happy that I’m working for a company that share the same principles that I have and values the same visions.  These all are an affirmation that I am in the right place and I can do more being here.  As they say, in this company, we have “THE POWER TO DO MORE” 😉


CNN Hero of the Year (2010)

I just watched CNN Heroes of the year. I was greatly touched. All of them are taking whatever they have and are changing the world. Some don’t even have much but they are putting matters in their own hands. Doing whatever they can to help solve a problem, bring back hope and empower the powerless. And now they are changing the world probably more than what most millionaires have. All it takes is just one act, one step of faith, believing that one person can truly make a difference.

I was especially touched by the Hero of the year “Anuradha Koirala”. She’s stopping human trafficking. Saving mostly girls as young as 9-14 years old from prostitution. One victim even gave a testimony that she was given to 25-35 men in a day. She was 9-10 years old that time! and another one says that she doesn’t have a choice else she will be tortured and electrocuted and she was only 14 years old then! That broke my heart.

Anudradha is saving one girl at a time and has saved 14,000 girls since she started. She’s giving them a home and a new hope. I truly admire her.

Let’s support her cause.

Freed Suu Kyi goes back to work

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi went back to work Monday at her National League for Democracy (NLD) party after being freed over the weekend from seven years under house arrest.

On Sunday, thousands of supporters massed outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon to hear Suu Kyi’s first public speech since her arrest in May 2003, in which she vowed to continue struggling for democracy, reconciliation and human rights.

The 65-year-old Nobel Peace laureate spent 15 of the past 20 years under house arrest.

Her first task will be to make the NLD opposition party a legal entity again, party sources said.

It ceased to exist as a political party in May after refusing to register for the Nov 7 general election, the first held in more than 20 years.

The NLD won the 1990 polls by a landslide, but was blocked from assuming power by the military.

The party leadership decided to boycott the polls to protest the election laws that would have required it to drop Suu Kyi as a member if the NLD sought to contest the polls.

Registration rules prohibited parties from including members who were serving prison terms. Suu Kyi was freed a week after the polls.

“On Thursday we are going to lodge a case to reinstate the NLD as a legal party,” spokesman Nyan Win said.

NLD security guards stopped local journalists from approaching Suu Kyi Monday morning.

Another task Suu Kyi is expected to tackle will be to assess the outcome of the Nov 7 polls, which many Western critics dismissed as a sham.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party, a junta proxy, won an estimated 80 percent of the 1,159 contested seats in the three chambers of parliament.

The party has been accused of tampering with advance ballots, and bribing or intimidating voters.

Suu Kyi said she would wait to read a report on the election compiled by the NLD before commenting on the outcome.

Another junta-friendly party, the National Unity Party, won 63 seats. The pro-democracy National Democratic Force, a breakaway from the NLD, won only 16 seats.

Two parties representing ethnic minorities did reasonably well in their states. The Shan Nationalities Democratic Party secured 57 seats, while the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party won 35.
© Copyright 2010 Hindustan Times

I admire what these young men are doing. It made me wonder how will I fair if I was doing the same experiment.  They say experience is the best teacher.  And these boys are immersing themselves in the lives of the poor to gain awareness of their living conditions and to see if microfinance is really sustainable.  This is something I’d like to answer myself.

I have been impressed by the idea of Muhammad Yunus on microfinance and have since believed in his advocacy. But it has always intrigued me of what a few of his critics claim that the poor are getting into further debt trap in this kind of system. I can’t help but wonder if those really have a basis or its just a phase that the micro-entrepreneurs will have to go through at first but will eventually grow out from through hardwork.  There might be some truth to this but compare this to the number of people who were helped by this system..  I found more success stories than the negative feedback.  So, I still believe more that empowering poor people who lack access to capital will help them get out of poverty or at least idleness.  As the saying goes “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Giving this people capital to empower them to start a small business, rather than donate them goods, will make them capable of sustaining themselves.  It will give them a sense of purpose and power that THEY CAN lift themselves out of their poverty.   This claim can be further strengthened by experiments like this and can either prove or disprove negative claims.

I have a curious personality.  I always want to try stuff even if other people warned me against it.  I want to know for myself so I try it anyway.  😀 I have all the time now to do this.. now that I have decided to devote my life to helping the poor, the society in any little way i can.. I probably just need 2 or 3 more people. Hmm… and that’s hard, who would want to try to live one dollar a day.  I don’t even know if I can do this.  But what the heck, I want to try it just for the sake of curiosity and adventure. =D This will definitely be in my Bucket list.

Been sitting on this social entrepreneurship idea of helping poor rural artisans market their handicraft via the web.  I am distracted all the time because there is this lingering fear in me that it might not work or I’m not capable of accomplishing such..  but time and again my faith and the belief that this is God’s will for me has led me on the path to continue.  So how do i start?  This morning I was looking for inspiration and where’s the best way to get it?  There are hundreds of ideas and inspirational stories of Entrepreneurs there who have succeeded in changing the world.  There’s so many that struck me but 2 of them have moved me to a more practical way of starting this vision of mine.  It is to do an experiment first.  Don’t think of a big launch because it will overwhelm you, which it did for me.  Think of a small experiment and if does make some positive change relevant to your vision, then launch it and get other people who believe in the same cause join the boat. 🙂

Here are the two women who inspired me today:

Jessica Jackley of Kiva


Jacqueline Novogratz on Patient Capitalism


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