Hi! I’m Maria Chona Lasaca from the island of Mindanao, south of Philippines! Mindanao is an awesome island but deeply scarred with age-old conflicts waged by several political groups whose wars are fed by the wounds of poverty and injustices.
Our country is touted as one of the top Asian economic performers today. But sadly that economic feat has not yet benefitted the majority of our people. Income disparity remains high. Women from poor families are still leaving their home to work in foreign lands. Farmers are still losing their lands to big corporations. Small businesses are unprepared to compete with their Asian neighbors as a borderless economy is unfolding.
Added to these, we live on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, home to increasingly powerful storms the world have seen. Because of our poverty, we are most vulnerable to climate change. My family and neighbors were survivors of one of the biggest floods the country experienced in 2011. We saw destruction but we also see rebuilding. We saw desperation but we also see hope at work .
I believe we are not alone in our situation. Women, families and communities in many parts of the globe, face equally, if not more challenging situations that continue to deprive them of their right to development. I believe that to attain economic empowerment we need support and continue education. That we can learn from one another, give support when needed and become a resource to every woman working for change and economic empowerment whether at personal or community level. We do not have to be wildly successful in our economic undertaking to be able to share. We can be like bamboo poles connected to one another so that water can pass to where it is needed. We need not be like reservoirs that needs to be filled up first before it can give water to others.
I want to be community champion for the Economic Empowerment group because I would like to help create a space where true conversations can happen among women change leaders. I wanted to help co-facilitate a system of sharing of ideas, of experiences, of resources among ourselves. I am open to learning, unlearning and relearning things to become economically empowered.
My hope and intention is for the group to become resources though information-sharing, co-learning, coaching and mentoring. It is my hope for the group to support the women change-leaders in their work by highlighting their efforts in the paths they are in toward economic empowerment. It is my hope that we can create an ever-widening circle of conversations on the strategies, learnings and innovations that can help us move closer to our economic goals.
Questions creates point of conversations.Talks lead to answers that lead to initiatives. Actions that lead to ripples of change anywhere where there are committed change leaders. Let our voices be heard and let it bring about the change we want to happen.
Do you feel that you are working in isolation? Do you want to know what innovations are being done to make an village enterprise similar to yours but are more viable? Are you looking for resources to support your economic goals? Do you have a story to tell that can inspire women in their economic struggle ?
Then hop aboard, let’s hit the road. The road trip will be exciting and fun as we can make it.