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“Marami po akong natutunan. Nakakataba ng puso na kahit ganito pa lang kaliit ang business namin, nasa tamang direksyon kami,” said Agnes Querubin of Don’s Enterprise, a micro-enterprise from San Luis, Aurora. (I learned a lot. It is heartwarming that although our business is still small, we know we are in the right direction.)
Querubin is one of the women micro-entrepreneurs (WMEs) being assisted by ECHOsi Foundation and GREAT Women Project to develop and market their products.
ECHOsi Foundation is a non-profit organization that advocates sustainability by empowering communities and marginalized groups including women. On the other hand, GREAT Women Project is an innovative private-public partnership that started in 2012 under the ECHOsi Foundation in partnership with the governments of Canada and the Philippines. Since its inception, the project has been helping WMEs reach their markets.
There were 831 WMEs enrolled in the project when the pandemic seemed to put the world on pause. But ECHOsi did not stop equipping these WMEs. Through webinars, the WMEs gained digital knowledge, design adaptation, and innovation skills.
Rowena Raymundo of Raymundo’s Homemade Products from Tagum, Davao del Norte attended one of the recent webinars and was grateful for her new learning on how to pack and label her products. “It enhanced my products and helped them become more appealing to consumers,” she said.
Despite the challenges in the logistics, a few remained relentless and continued with the program. Their products are mementos of their stories of determination, grit, and interest to proceed despite the odds.
Their stories of resilience are weaved together in the GREAT Holiday Baskets. These baskets of stories feature staples like brown rice, teas, and condiments; jellies, spreads, and snacks; and other green, functional, and sustainable products. All these products are 100% natural, 100% Filipino, and 100% women-crafted.
The GREAT Holiday Basket comes in four variants; Coffee, Choco and Tea Basket, All Around Sauce Basket, Morning Basket, and Merienda Time Basket. All variants come in reusable, environment-friendly pandan baskets made by Asher Native Handicrafts. Sending your loved ones these baskets is a perfect way to show your love and care and at the same time promote a sustainable lifestyle, help local producers, and empower women.
Coffee, Choco and Tea Basket contains everything one needs to enjoy hot drinks during the cold breeze of the Ber months. This basket includes Cafe Tierra Cacao Tablea by Rodelyn Sarmiento Matila of Caf’s Food Products in Tuao, Cagayan.
All Around Sauce Basket contains essential condiments like Ajana Kamias Vinegar by Cleofe Abiva of Ajanas Handcrafted Delicacies in Nueva Ecija; and King James Chili Garlic Sauce by Christine Grace Oyos of S and D Food Products in Santiago City, Isabela. The set comes with recipes and guides on how to prepare all-time favorite dishes this holiday season.
Morning Basket is a toolkit to jumpstart one’s day. Included in the basket is ECHOstore Lowland Rice for those who prefer rice for breakfast. HRTC’s sugar-free Peanut Butter by Teresita Cordova of Victoria, Tarlac is also included for those who prefer bread.
Lastly, Merienda Time Basket features Vegetable Kropeks by Elisa Tomas of Melizabeth Food Products in Burgos Can, Quirino; and dips that satisfy one’s afternoon cravings, like Mama Evie’s Calamansi Concentrate by Rowena Raymundo.
The four baskets are a culmination of the GREAT Women Project, an empowering and innovative activity by ECHOsi Foundation.
Each purchase of the GREAT Holiday Basket is a celebration of the stories of perseverance of WMEs; stories we need to tell and hear to inspire and empower other women.
All these products will be available at echostore.ph.