Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jacqueline Carleta Rodriguez: Poverty Fighter and a Micro Entrepreneur

I miss to write about poverty on October 15, set as the Blog Action Day worldwide. This is a poverty awareness campaign and I believe should not only be done in a day but should be I guess decades of series of discussions that will create actions to build prosperity from an individual to family to community to nation and so on and so forth.

To eradicate poverty and to promote sustainable human development by 2015 are few of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Poverty remains to be prevalent in Manila and certainly has its share of urban poor. According to Asian Business Strategy Forum, Philippines has not been able to sustain the economic growth required to reduce poverty to acceptable levels.

In spite of the global financial crisis, we found inspiring stories just around the corners to share with you. It is our way of taking pride of Filipinos' resilience.

Let us read the rest of the story of Jackie, an empowered woman, a mother, a friend, and selfless volunteer. She shared her way to fight poverty and get her children to school.

This is made possible through the interview of Florante “Tetchie” Reyes, my high school classmate and a feature writer too!

Our blog, Pinoy Vision is our extension of our corporate social responsibility (CSR). One of the CSRs we would like to take positive action about poverty alleviation by giving FREE self-improvement seminars to students, women, micro entrepreneurs and those striving to be entrepreneurs to be empowered and to be proud Filipinos in spite of poverty the soonest possible time. Yes, we can!

Would you like to be part of this mission? Just click DONATE through PayPal System at the side bar. By sharing your one US dollar (1$), 10, 100 or whatever amount you like to give will definitely boost and improve one's life, will make other people happy and will bridge to reach the BIG dreams to come true!


JACKIE’S MAGIC ICE CANDY

By: Tetchie Reyes


As Forrest Gump once said,” Life is like a box of chocolate, you’ll never know what you gonna get.” But for Jacqueline Carleta “Jackie” Rodriguez, life is like a bucket full of ice….ice candy that is.

This remarkable woman has a story to tell. Hers is a life of sweet intoxication, sprinkled with a dash of frustrations and simmered in a constant aroma of peace and resilience. I reacquainted with Jackie just a couple of months ago when I started organizing our Arellano High School (Manila North) Silver Jubilee celebration. We already knew each other because we went to the same school during elementary and high school (though we belong to a different section with different sets of friends and classmates). It was only recently that I had the chance to really get to know her on a personal level.

On different occasions when we hold our regular meetings, Jackie never fails to bring with her something to eat or munch during our gatherings like yema, ube-macapuno, maja blanca at one point, and on a hot Saturday afternoon, I have tasted the best, if not the best ice candy I have ever tasted. She proudly says she made it herself and that she actually makes a living out of it. From then on, I got so addicted with her ice candies that I have to know her secret in making such a delightful treat.

It all began, in 1979 when she learned in school how to make yema. She’s so good at it that she started to cook in bunches and wrapped it in colorful packages and sells it to her friends and classmates. During lunch breaks, her schoolmates would come around to buy her goodies at five centavo a piece.

High school life was no different for Jackie. Her entrepreneurial spirit craves to be filled and nothing and nobody stopped her in doing what she loves best, (not even her bullies of male classmates who often call her names), making and selling yema and candies for her classmates to enjoy. She kept all her earnings for a week to buy girly stuff any high school teen would love to have.

Twenty six years later, Jackie is happily married to Mariano Rodriguez, a messenger at SC Johnsons and a proud mother of three. Chiradee, 22 years old, a Tourism graduate and is now connected with Baron Travel and Tours; Jaycelyn, 17, a Dean’s Lister at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila taking up Nursing and the youngest, Jay, 12, first year student at Ramon Magsaysay High School.

Though married life and motherhood brought Jackie immeasurable joy and hardship, her busy hands never for a moment get tired of concocting little treats to sell. Gone are the yemas and the pastillas, she now concentrates her efforts in making and selling ice candies throughout the whole neighborhood. Rain or shine, Jackie peddles her items three shifts a day. In the morning she sells ice candy at 10:00 am, again at 1:00 pm and yet again before the sun sets at 5:00 pm. Every time she hits the streets, her cooler contains more than a hundred pieces (per shift) of her home- made ice candies and is consumed within 30 minutes, not to mention her regular customers who knocks at her door even in the wee hours of the night just to have a taste of her refreshing coolers especially on a hot summer night. For Php 3.00 a piece, one can enjoy the flavorful assortment of Jackie’s thirst quenchers. There are a lot of flavors to choose from, such as buco-gulaman, avocado, black monggo, corn, guyabano, chocolate, mango and the all-time favorite lanka flavored ice candy.

Her daily earning, averaged from Php 300.00 to 400.00 is something she looks forward to at the end of the day. She helps her husband in sending their children to school and built a home, literally brick by brick, through sheer determination, diligence and of course with her product magic ice candy.

One might look at Jackie’s life as simple and humble. Her little business is the only thing she thinks she can be proud of. Yet as I look at her in the arms of her family and friends, Jackie’s life is more than just a bucket full of ice candies. Its magical flavor had touched lives other than that of her family, but of people who have tasted her friendship and a ready smile. Her happy disposition and a positive outlook in life earned Jackie her loyal customers and patrons through the years who never get tired buying her little goodies.

“We just have to go on fighting for poverty by doing what we love to do as if it’s not work but just play or chikka,” Jackie says in a usual conversation with us.

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