A tough journey.
This is how I describe my experience when it comes to raising changemaking resources.
In 2015, I established Hagiyo, a nonprofit organization for indigenous peoples. (Read a tale of two countries to know how the organization started).
I invested all my personal savings in doing the groundwork preparing things necessary for a startup organization. When all my money and the ones I was able to raise were gone, I had to look for a job since Hagiyo has no regular funding. If not, I might end up in the streets, as there will be no money to pay the bills and the apartment in the city.
Still, I continue on with Hagiyo. I did not give up. What keeps me going aside from the vision I have for indigenous peoples – educated, empowered, champions of culture and changemakers – are the people who supported me.
They were not rich. They were employees, domestic helpers, laborers,and housewives including a whole community among others. There were friends and friends of friends as well. Then there were local organizations and a few corporate partners.
Let me share some short stories based on my experience in raising changemaking resources.
The first individual donor. I was sharing with a friend about what I want to do with my life, my vision for Hagiyo and then he said, "I'll give you this amount, do a dinner for a cause." I was floored as it was a big amount and he’s just giving it to me like that. His name is Ian and he was the first donor. His action was a tipping point as a lot of people rallied together to make the dinner a success. This event also became the soft launching of the Hagiyo.
The first corporate partner. Ate Lui, who is another friend, shared a poster to me about a 12 gifts of Christmas contest of Cherry Mobile, a telephone company in the Philippines. They were looking for 12 organizations across the country that they can partner with for a gift giving activity. I made a concept note and sent to them. After a few days, I received a call. Hagiyo was selected and 200 indigenous children benefited. What was amazing was, we have not yet implemented any project beforehand. And because we made a good impression during the first project implemented, we again had a second partnership with them where they provided 500 indigenous chilren with school kits.
A whole indigenous community. Every family in Nunhabatan shelled out 100 pesos to provide a lunch for the whole community during Hagiyo’s first gift giving activity in partnership with Cherry Mobile where 200 indigenous school children received food packs. In another gift giving activity where 500 school kits were distributed to indigenous kids, the local government unit of barangay Camandag provided lunch for the community.
Indigenous kids and youth. Indigenous peoples are not just recipients but that they have something to share as well – their rich culture, traditions and their way of life. In all of Hagiyo’s small projects that were conducted, the indigenous kids and youth are proud to showcase their rich heritage as they share their talents through cultural performances.
College students as donors. You don’t have to have a job to be able to help. This was shown by a group of college students who selected Hagiyo as the beneficiary of their event for a cause – a fundraising dinner. The amount that they raised enabled Hagiyo to transport the hundreds of books toseveral schools in indigenous communities. The books were donated by a local organization, Operation Blessing.
Family andrelatives.I am grateful that my family and relatives were very supportive as I try to manage Hagiyo even without pay since then till now. As the first child of the family and a breadwinner, I am thankful that they continue to support me in any way they can like joining the events and doing some errands.
Volunteers and individual donors. I would not have been able to implement the small projects ofHagiyo without volunteers. They are the ones who work in the community if I am not able to go, people who created the website,the layout of the brochure, photographers during the events and people who train the culturalperformers including the performers themselvesamong others.
Also, I am grateful for theindividual donors who have supported the cause for indigenous peoples. During thetimes I approached people, I have experienced being disappointed, rejected,some even triedto hide andsome of them are even my friends. Yet, I focused on those people who have stood by me knowing that in the end, this is not about me.It is about a much bigger cause - a cause #4indigenouspeoples.
At the end of it all, I can say that though it is a tough journey it is all worth it!
*Hagiyo is an Ifugao (one of the indigenous peoples' group north of the Philippines) word that means, "shout for joy"
How to Get Involved
Your financial support to Hagiyo is greatly appreciated. Message me how you can be of help or like our fb page: facebook.com/hagiyo.org