Philippine Self-Help Foundation


The World Family Fund will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2011. WFF was an offshoot of the International Living Craft Association, an NPO founded in 1986 and specialising in the sale of high quality handicrafts, food and toys from majority world countries. WFF founders, Robert and Reiko Wilson originally dreamt up the idea of the World Family Fund in the late 1980?s.

In the course of their travels and association with producer groups for the ILCA, they discovered that there was a need for a nonprofit, non trading arm to the ILCA that could provide assistance over and beyond the scope of trade.

The ILCA continues to thrive after 25 years with many of the original trustees and volunteers still participating in the dozen or so bazaars held in Tokyo each year. At these bazaars you will find hand crafted products from countries such as Bangladesh, Kenya and Nepal as well as fair trade coffees, teas and mascobado sugar. Most of the income from the bazaars is ploughed back for further purchases but 10% is set aside as a donation for WFF.

The WFF currently supports seven organizations in Africa and Asia including the Philippine Self Help Foundation. WFF income is derived from membership fees, fund-raising events and donations from ILCA.

The support of the WFF for our livelihood assistance loan programme in the Philippines has been deeply appreciated. Since 1992, WFF funds have been used to provide livelihood loans to 53 families and groups as well as grants to seven individuals for medical care. The most recent project to be supported by the WFF is for a group of eight vendors on the island of Bohol. We are pleased to feature their story below.

Ubujan is a fishing village in the north of Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol island and most villagers here are involved in fishing or in the selling of a variety of seafoods. Last year, we assisted the Ubujan seafood vendors, an enterprising group of individuals comprised of neighbors, aged between 28 and 58 years old. The group are seeking a reloan of 80,000 pesos to be divided equally between the eight group members to expand their respective livelihoods; the details are as follows;

- Eva Consolacion and Jovita Ciño will peddle meals & vegetables and run a retail store

- Arsenio Carreon and Justina Bantugan will each buy a new fishing boat and engine.

- Juliana Balijon, Abella Campeciño, Dinah Aray and Jesnell Balijon will use their shares of the group loan to serve as additional capital for the purchase of squid, shell fish and seaweed and to rent a stall in a Tagbilaran fish market.

Dinah Aray (38), the group?s secretary comes from a fishing family of 12. Her father was a fisherman and her mother a fish vendor, peddling her father?s catch in the city market. Dinah?s own experience of fish vending began when she was a schoolgirl. She would wake up at five in the morning to go down to the sea which was a walk away, to meet her father coming in with his catch. Carrying a full pail of fish, she would then make her way to the market to hand over the fish to her mother and help her in the stall, before making her way to school. Dinah recalls such happy times with her family but also the hardships when bad weather prevented her father from fishing and the entire family had no more than rice porridge to eat for days on end.

When she was 18, Dinah got married to Ruben, a carpenter and neighbour. The couple have six children, four of whom are living at home. Ruben?s monthly salary of 4,000 pesos (US$87) is just enough to buy a sack of rice and a few basic commodities.

Dinah complements her husband?s income by selling fish, a project she started with her share of the group loan last year. She is excited about having her own stall as it will mean increased sales and the chance to give some work experience to her daughter Divina (18) who is married and currently unemployed. The PSHF loan will enable them to pay the franchise fee for the stall (7,000 pesos) and buy additional stocks of squid and shrimps. Dinah and her daughter hope to earn a weekly net income of 1,800 pesos ($39) from this venture and even more during the festive seasons  or when there is a town fiesta.

Another group member, Arsenio Carreon (58) is the sole provider for his wife and two nieces whom he and his wife adopted when their parents died. Arsenio is a seasoned fisherman but his ten year old boat is barely sea worthy these days so he is hesitant to row out far to sea. He has a good net however; he purchased with his share of the group loan last year. He plans to use his reloan to replace his boat and buy a 5.5Hp engine, thus saving him from rowing. He will now be able to venture as far afield as the Cebu and Panglao coasts in his new boat, perhaps increasing his weekly catch from 8 to 25 kilos of fish and thus making a steady income of 1,500 pesos ($33) a week.

The Ubujan group members have faithfully repaid their first loan in full and on time and we are glad to assist them again with their respective livelihoods.