Rebecca Parkinson, a member of a Sydney-based GIG (Girl Investment Group), wrote the following email to her fellow GIG members to explain her experiences on a recent trip. She shares with us how she was struck by a vision while in a bamboo hut in the Philippines. Go Bec and thank you for your insight and inspiration!
I just wanted to tell you about this – couldn’t keep it to myself.
Last Thursday I found myself crowded into a bamboo hut, surrounded by 30 Filipino women and their children perched on benches & plastic chairs. Some were standing just outside the door holding umbrellas to protect them from the intermittent tropical rain. An array of popular local snacks were laid out in the middle of the room.*
The formal part of the meeting was completed, and we’d just finished hearing from each women in turn introducing themselves, describing their families, the industry they (and for some, their husbands) were involved in, and the size of each of their business loans. Many had recently received their very first 6 month loan, having borrowed 6,000 pesos – $125. One or two women were on their 13th loan cycle, one had even graduated to an individual loan. Questions posed to these women about their businesses were answered by a number from the group – the pride in these who were further down the path and had grown their businesses was vocal and supportive.
It was evident that they appreciated this gathering together of like minded neighbours – all of whom were taking a chance in financial matters, stepping out into an endeavour that was new to them, a little unsure, maybe daunted, but motivated to ‘have a crack’. And all so supportive of each other, and the realities, the challenges, responsibilities and opportunities their financial service – in this case a loan – was representing to each one.
And suddenly I was struck by a vision of us some day in the future, describing our initial hesitant steps to create our GIG group, our own support network, trying out different strategies, making time to gather regularly & learn together, and in time, proudly telling others about each others’ achievements.
If these women can do it, and gain so much, so can we. What an inspiration they were to me right at that moment!
I just had to tell you about this experience, the correlation was so evident.
Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks,
*sticky coconut rice & moscavado sugar – yum!
Rebecca visited the Philippines as part of her job with Opportunity International Australia who exist to provide opportunities for people living in poverty to transform their lives.
Get your finances on girls and see how you can help empower yourselves and start a ripple effect to help women globally. To find out more about the Personal Finance Program and how to form or join a GIG please go here. To find out more about microfinance go here or about our microfinance partner Opportunity International go here