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The past two weeks have flown by, and although I’ve been constantly ‘on the go’ I was still unable to meet with everybody that I would like to have. I missed out on meeting with Mellany Ramos Stametalaky from Kids Hope this time around, and didn’t get to International Needs in Marikina. I didn’t see my friend Raffy Ilano, or Cha Cha del Rosario at Gawad Kalinga (one day I’m going to pick up the sunglasses I left in her car four years ago!!!).

But I’ve also had the opportunity to make some new friends and connections, with a number of possible future initiatives germinating as a result. Meeting with Ben Compton, of WE International Inc., Philippines, was tremendously inspiring and encouraging — although we were fortunate enough to be able to meet in the luxurious surrounds of Greenbelt Makati, our conversation quickly transported us, in spirit at least, to Smokey Mountain (Tondo), regional flood-affected communities, and a variety of urban slums around Manila. Ben’s passion to work cooperatively with other NGOs in delivering holistic solutions that ensure opportunities are provided to the most disadvantaged slum children was refreshing to experience, and as we spoke there were numerous possibilities for future collaboration that began to emerge. We’ll certainly be continuing our dialogue over the coming weeks and months, being a sounding board for each other as we develop workable and sustainable plans for creating income-generating, employment opportunities for the poor. Micro-enterprise, micro-loans, and larger scale production of export-quality goods are all ideas that are starting to take shape, though of course a lot more planning will need to be done to assess feasibility, develop marketing strategies, and source seed funding.

Likewise, my good friend Glen Biggs and I had a great time catching up again in Davao City. Glen and his wife Sarah lead Global Impact in Davao City, and already they’ve been able to seed a variety of businesses which are creating great test cases and learning experiences for future larger-scale operations. These businesses variously have the possibility of creating employment, developing leadership skills, facilitating mentoring and character development, and generating revenue streams for the other ministries of Global Impact which are not self-sustaining.

My trip has again vividly reminded me of the immense need that exists in this amazing country, but there is hope because there are so many passionate people (Filipino and expatriates) sowing into the lives of others and helping to develop the necessary character and capacity to revive this nation.

Over the coming months, initiatives which I’m hoping to get off the ground include

  • custom printed or embroidered corporate apparel that will directly create employment and opportunities for impoverished Filipinos
  • joint venture opportunity with Philippines partner for online business that will ease the difficulty for public finding housing
  • giftwares, crafts and jewellery to be distributed in Australian boutique stores with a concern for social justice and helping the impoverished

If you’re interested in these initiatives, either as a customer or as a contributor, please contact me directly.