Improving lives through entrepreneurship

 

Apart from a booming artisan chocolate industry that has caught worldwide attention, the province of Davao is fast gaining popularity as a growing agro-enterprise, industrial and service sector businesses, and tourism hub. Its success over the years, while made possible by its rich natural resources, can be attributed to one of its greatest resources – its people.

Meet Geraldine and Ate Nora -- two of the thousands of people who contribute to uplifting lives in Davao.

Geraldine was three years old when she caught the deadly polio disease. But with her strong will, she thought of her condition as a challenge that she should overcome. She grew up with a goal to finish school and land a job so that she would not need to depend on her parents forever.

Geraldine has been living in a community where all are willing to help one another live productive, happy lives. She has been in the ADAP (Association of Differently Abled Persons) Village in Brgy. Indangan, Davao City for 13 years now. ADAP is now a multi-purpose cooperative (MPC) chaired by Geraldine. With the ADAP, Geraldine learned a new skill on baking that helped her gain additional income aside from her seven-year work with a Davao medical center as a data encoder. With this training on baking and bread production provided by the Aboitiz Group, Geraldine and other members of ADAP MPC passed the TESDA National Certification II became certified bakers who are managing their cooperative’s bakery.

Like Geraldine, Ate Nora has a sunny disposition in life. She proudly calls herself a “Sunshine Baker”. Despite the heavy load and challenges of the work day, the smile of this mother of five never falters when she shared how their cooperative, Sunshine Farmers and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC), manages its bakery in order to provide additional income to its members. Today, Sunshine MPC earns an additional P3,000 to P5,000 a day from the bakeshop. It will also begin supplying school and office canteens.

The Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate foundation of the Aboitiz Group, has been assisting cooperatives like ADAP MPC and Sunshine Co-op through its enterprise development program. It teamed up with the Aboitiz business units in Mindanao such as Therma South, Inc. (TSI), Davao Light and Power Company, and Pilmico to help train cooperatives members and provided bakery starter kits and equipment, opening opportunities for them to earn NC II Certifications.

The Foundation also engaged its microfinance partner, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), Inc. to help these cooperatives grow their bakeries and other businesses. With the co-ops’ good performance, the Aboitiz Group provided them with free capacity building training modules from the Cooperative Development Authority.

“In the past, ADAP was focused on wood production and fabrication. The baking class allowed us to go into a new venture, which is especially applicable to many of us who are fond of cooking. Baking is physical work and being on crutches was a challenge but this did not hinder our determination to finish the course and pass the accreditation. I am also grateful for the organizational skills training, which is helpful for me in my responsibility with the co-op,” Geraldine shares.

In 2018, the Aboitiz Foundation has reached around 160 officers and members of 20 cooperatives through coop strengthening training programs and trained 75 individuals on livelihood skills nationwide. The Foundation continues to extend assistance and provide sustainable livelihood to more cooperatives in Davao as part of its promise of advancing business and communities by co-creating safe, empowered, and sustainable communities.