Tag Archive: business



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.

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TED Talks Jacqueline Novogratz shares stories of how “patient capital” can bring sustainable jobs, goods, services — and dignity — to the world’s poorest.

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TED Talks What do you think of people in poverty? Maybe what Jessica Jackley once did: “they” need “our” help, in the form of a few coins in a jar. The co-founder of Kiva.org talks about how her attitude changed — and how her work with microloans has brought new power to people who live on a few dollars a day.

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I recently realized,  after studying a case study about CCAP (Community Crafts Association of the Philippines), that my vision on creating a sustainable livelihood for  poor rural artisans by helping them market their handicrafts may not be SUSTAINABLE TO THEM AFTER ALL.  (sigh).  Here’s the link:

http://www.fao.org/teca/content/community-based-woven-rattan-products-manufacturing>

This study shows that on the average each producer or artisan will just be earning P1000 per month, YES PER MONTH! In this study the foreign exchange rate then was P40=US$1 so its not very far from our situation right now which is around P42+=US$1.  P1000 per month, per person/family, no matter how you look at it will never be enough to give them sustainable livelihood.  I don’t even know if its enough for their basic needs.. That’s just P33/day!    This saddens me greatly because I’ve done a lot of research about this social enterprise and have been passionately talking about it to my friends, relatives, and previous colleagues.  What’s more is that my husband and I are already planning to go to a trip in Bicol (one of the rural areas here in the Philippines) 2 weeks from now.  He already has filed his 1 week leave! (sigh). So what to do now? I honestly don’t know but I’m keeping my faith because I know that God has called me to be a social entrepreneur and He will see me through this.   For now, I’m going to start doing my experimentation as what I have resolved yesterday in my Blog.  2 of the women social entrepreneurs who inspired me started with small steps through a simple exposure on the living conditions of the poor people and I’ll just have to do the same.  So I have decided that PJ (my husband) and I will push through with our rural visit and will see from there if we can solve any problem through whatever God has gifted us with.  May it be through a handicraft business or not.

So to answer my question, what to do when results are unexpectedly negative? Look at your vision again (remind yourself always why you want to do this), tweak your action items a bit (it’s wiser to adjust along the way than stick to something blindly just because the plan is already laid out) and just trust God will direct you to the right path.

By the way, here are a few pics I’ve seen in my research.  This comes from FRPDI (Forest Research Product Development Institute).  They are a branch of DOST (Dept. Of Science and Tech.) here in the Philippines who help train producers or artisans in building quality handicrafts.  You’ll see below that two of their handicrafts are very artistically and uniquely made and Export quality.  🙂 (one is a magazine rack and the other is a floor lamp) Proud to be Pinoy when I saw this.


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