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Social enterprises solution to fight poverty

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Social enterprises are being pushed to help underprivileged Filipinos improve their living conditions.

Enchanted Farm, Gawad Kalinga’s avenue to promote social enterprises, has been guiding former slum dwellers in learning how to make small businesses, such as Peanut butter making and plush toys, in its Bulacan-based site.

“The poor do not have many options for work, but social enterprises are a great way to generate jobs and incomes, and benefit many more in the community,” said Joni Morales, manager at Gawad Kalinga.

“Everyone who lives here works here, and can themselves become entrepreneurs one day,” he said.

Other businesses include First Harvest – partly funded by Australian Aid – which makes peanut butter and other spreads, and Plush and Play, set up by a French well-wisher, that makes stuffed toys resembling vegetables and fruits.

A sister organization, Human Nature, makes skincare and bodycare products with ingredients such as coconut, aloe and lemongrass sourced from poor farmers. Its employees include Enchanted Farm residents, as well as slum-dwellers.

Moreover, Gomer Padong from PSEN has urged the Senate to pass the Poverty Reduction Through Social Entrepreneurship Bill to further equip Filipinos with ways to get out from poverty.

“For the marginalized with little education and few resources, social enterprises are often the only option for financial security, sustainability and empowerment,” he said.

“They are particularly relevant for the Philippines, as the poor are increasingly locked out of private sector-focused development,” he added.

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