- Sheena Labor
Becoming a Steward of Change
Four years ago, a rare opportunity knocked and asked me to become a steward of change. My friends and I came across Ideas Positive, a campaign to improve the Philippines that moved us so much, we decided to embrace a common vision and commit to turning our positive ideas into reality.
Four years ago, a rare opportunity knocked and asked me to become a steward of change.
My friends and I came across Ideas Positive, a campaign to improve the Philippines that moved us so much, we decided to embrace a common vision and commit to turning our positive ideas into reality.
The core of Ideas Positive is to build a #healthierPH. We would have wanted to do something to literally make our chosen community healthier. But we also thought of a more long-term impact, and since we didn’t know a lot in the medical field, we decided to help them improve not only their physical health, but also their well-being as a community.
As Business majors, it was natural that our plans for our chosen community would likely be related to it. Even our name, Team Protogenia, was inspired by the Greek goddess of Success in Business herself. Our project – BRAVE (Badjaos, more Responsible, Active, Visionary and Environment-friendly) – envisioned a confined community of Badjaos in Batangas City to be more responsible and productive individuals.
“Badjaos seek for alms so they can live.” This is what most Filipinos think of the Badjaos, indigenous people who originally hail from the provinces, but chose to migrate to the city. This perception inspired us to help them change what other people think of them. Our strategy was to empower and uplift their sense of well-being through a sustainable source of income and livelihood activities.
The idea struck us the moment we saw their potential in banig-making, or the art of creating mats from dried hemp. Almost all the women in the community were knowledgeable and had the talent to produce wonderful pieces of banigs. We thought of this as the perfect opportunity to start our positive idea. We tapped the local government of the city to teach them other techniques and help them hone their craft. We also helped them look for possible markets to distribute their finished products. Not only did we involve women in the project, but we also had other members of the community participate in the vermiculture and backyard gardening sessions. We believed that these simple projects are easy and can be sustained even after Ideas Positive.
After months of BRAVE, we saw improvements. Though it was not the drastic change we would have wanted for them, we still felt a sense of accomplishment after the 6-month program, knowing that we have helped and instilled some life values to the community.
Ideas Positive has been very instrumental in my growth as an individual. We may not have won the competition, but I believe we can still call ourselves winners through the memories, experiences and lessons we gained from this journey.
With Ideas Positive, I realized that change does not depend on age, power or position. We just have to remember that the ones who think they can change the world are the ones who actually do.
Sheena Labor is a member of Team Protogenia, one of the finalist teams during Ideas Positive Run 3. She is now a Brand Executive Trainee in a cosmetics and beauty company.