Rising from the rubbles five years after Typhoon Yolanda

Rain or shine, the embankment along the harbor of Tacloban Port served as the home of Josie Cruspe’s family of seven. It was also where she earned a living for her family’s daily expenses and other needs by selling staple Filipino snacks like banana cue and camote cue. She single-handedly raised six of her children through the small earnings she got from selling snacks.

When Typhoon Haiyan struck, everything was put to a halt. Her family had to part ways after the disaster—one of her children worked in Manila and another had to stay at a relative’s place to continue studying. While the whole City of Tacloban was recovering from the devastation of Haiyan, Josie also looked for ways by which she can rebuild her business and continue providing for her family out of the PHP 2,000 cash she had at hand. She used this fund to buy native products, such as wicker baskets and whisk brooms, which she then resold at the public market along the city’s seawall. On top of selling native products, Josie accepted orders for hot meals, which serve both her own family and other families in the area and sewed clothes on a per-demand basis. Despite engaging in these economic activities, nothing was secure in her family financially and her children who were still in school had to stop studying; but Josie’s determination to expand her business pushed her to rent another stall in the public market.

In 2016, Josie became one of the recipients of the PHP 10,000-seed capital for the restoration of livelihoods through WVDF. This, for Josie, literally changed the course of her life and her family’s. Through WVDF, Josie learned the concept of community savings (Community Savings and Credit Association or CoMSCA) and how to run a small business. After receiving the seed capital, she immediately ordered 100 kilograms of dried fish for reselling. Josie made sure that she got to use her business revenues as revolving fund for her native products and dried fish business, and for saving some money for her children’s matriculation and daily living. “Noong dumating ‘yung puhunan s’yempre cash iyon eh. Tamang-tama na noong nagkaroon siya (puhunan), nakabili ako agad ng isang daang kilo [ng dried fish].” “Nagkaroon lang talaga ng pagkakataon na may dumating na pera kaya hanggang ngayon tuloy-tuloy lang.” (When the seed capital was awarded to us, I immediately ordered 100 kilograms of dried fish. It was really a stroke of luck that such an opportunity came to us and everything went smoothly after that), says Josie.

Motivated to change her whole family’s life after Haiyan, Josie also saved some of her profits from her business to acquire a simple house in another barangay. She proudly says now that she runs her business on a cash basis—a big leap from having little to no money and on living off loans. Her determination to make her money grow through her business paved the way for her rental of two more stores at the public market and for helping one of her children get a house of their own as well. Now, Josie proudly says that she can sleep well knowing that her own children and grandchildren live on a more secure house, that two of her children are on their way to graduating from college, and that her business is doing well.

For Josie, the seed capital from WVDF was tipping point in her entrepreneurial journey. This seed capital was multiplied fourfold. Now, aside from having spare cash for running her business, she also engages in the wholesale of dried fish and native products that other traders in Tacloban and nearby towns resell in their own communities.

Josie, along with other CoMSCA members in their community, are now working together in saving more for their families and in expanding their own businesses. This, for Josie, is one of the ways by which she influences the lives of fellow entrepreneurs and neighbors—all under the spirit of solidarity and financial freedom.

World Vision’s livelihood intervention that includes livestock distribution, technical skills training, business start-up toolkit, capital support and community savings groups, has catered to 114,981 people.

Written by: Sam Javier/World Vision, Published November 6, 2018

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