Monday, 13 January 2014

Day 2 – Safely arrived in the Philippines

Day Two
Head of Lendwithcare, Tracey Horner, safely arrived in Manila this morning where she will stay for a couple of days and meet with CARE Philippines staff to discuss a rehabilitation plan for the people who lost their livelihoods when Typhoon Haiyan hit on November 8th last year. One of the main questions to be addressed is how Lendwithcare, a peer-to-peer lending platform operating in devastated areas, can contribute to these rebuilding efforts.

Tomorrow, Tracey will also meet with Lendwithcare's local partner, SEEDFINANCE, the Filipino microfinance organisation that Lendwithcare has been working with to provide small loans to entrepreneurs living in the Philippines for the past to years. SEEDFINANCE will provide Tracey with an update on the 38 Lendwithcare entrepreneurs that have been adversely affected by the typhoon. As shown on the homemade map below, Tracey will travel to visit those affected in Tacloban, Ormoc, Omaganhan and Cebu, to assess what can be done to help support restoration and to hear their stories.

In the past, Lendwithcare has helped many small businesses in now-devastated areas such as the islands of Cebu or Leyte. Analiza Cangmaong is one of them; she was a greengrocer selling bananas and sweet potatoes on a market in Tuburan, Cebu, but she was making a lot of losses because her stock would rot before she could sell it. After a series of short-term loans she managed to diversify her stock and start selling dried fish and to put an end to any more waste. “Fish is more profitable. It never goes off before sale. There is no waste. […]The loans have improved our family’s life. I have been able to send my daughter to college, which I could not do before. […] Now we have been able to buy a motorcycle, which is helpful for our business, and we have bought appliances for the house. We have music now. Also our family eat better food at home”, she says.

Access to microfinance, such as small loans, has the potential to significantly improve the living standards of low income families living in poverty, and could be an important tool in the rebuilding efforts after a natural disaster; a possibility that Tracey is currently exploring in the Philippines.

Follow Tracey as she travels to meet Lendwithcare entrepreneurs on our Twitter and Facebook feeds and by following this blog.

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