In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey mentioned that “Paradigms are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world… If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. But if you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm.” This statement is compelling because it will drive you to reflect on how your life is positioned in society and what impact you have made thus far. Do you belong to the upper class, middle class, or the working and underclass? How comfortable are you with your current way of living? How do you plan to live a meaningful life?
Today, the world faces various conflicts and unfortunate events such as the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, financial crisis and climate change. However, poverty and inequality have been persistent societal dilemmas for the longest time. In a study conducted by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), 17 million Filipino people will remain poor in 2022 as the government may likely fail its poverty target (Ordinario, 2021). The Philippine government maintains that the poverty condition of the country could have improved if it were not for the imposed global pandemic measures such as mobility restrictions which led to an increase in the poverty rate due to loss of jobs (Ordinario, 2021).
On November 6, 2021, our Lasallian Business Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Social Responsibility class had the opportunity to have a meaningful encounter with a community organization called the Community Organizers Multiversity (CO Multiversity or COM). COM supports the livelihood projects of Soler Riverside Valley Neighborhood Association Inc. (SRVNAI). This initiative is through the Lasallian Social Enterprise for Economic Development (LSEED) Center program called Project KAagapay sa Yugto-yugto at Abot-Kayang Negosyo (KAYA).
The program promotes entrepreneurial opportunities, addresses technical challenges and develops relevant skills for the urban poor and the marginalized. During the discussion, young representatives from CO Multiversity and SRVNAI explained the challenges they are currently facing with their livelihood projects. Specifically for their “personalized advocacy” T-Shirt printing project, they aim to improve its end-to-end business operations through proper and professional training from our class and our partner organizations. Notably, though, the fact that we were having a community service conversation with the youth representatives of the said communities is incredibly fascinating for me.
True enough, the youth equipped with pragmatic idealism and determination are the hope of our nation’s future. I hope that they will be great nation-builders and servant leaders someday.
Honestly, and biases aside, I only see the world from where I stand. Admittedly, I felt how out of touch I am with other classes of society. Thankfully though, with the encounter that we had with CO Multiversity and SRVNAI, I have seen through a peephole how a certain community lives in a nutshell and how they strive really hard to make a sufficient source of income to sustain their daily needs.
I am now more aware that different communities seek to live daily with every opportunity they get. I am now more informed how resources and opportunities are not fair for everyone, and that certainly, this may not be how they want their lives to be. Also, I am now more aware of the benefits of community service, no matter how big or small the extended help is, as long as it adds value to their lives.
With this, I am now more inclined to pursue my dream from a few years back to support a charity, specifically for children. I want them to experience life on a more optimistic note, thereby positively impacting their lives. Someday, someday, someday.
The author is an MBA student at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, DLSU. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.