fresh perspectives on filipino diaspora, philanthropy and social innovation

On Understanding Poverty in the Philippines. The Heart of the Matter.


Before one can alleviate or reduce “poverty,” one must understand it.  A few questions for thought:

(i) Is poverty an individual experience or a broader one?

(ii) Is it material or spiritual?

(iii) Does poverty result from “lack,” “excess,” or both?

(iv) Is poverty a temporary condition. or is it systemic?

Quite simply, there may be only two ways to understand poverty in the Philippines (or anywhere else, for that matter).  Either live in poverty, there in the country, or serve the poor.  Empathy begins by walking in someone else’s tsinelas.

For the Trabajo Project, the challenge is being part of the solution… from afar.


– Julius

The Trabajo Project

3 comments on “On Understanding Poverty in the Philippines. The Heart of the Matter.

  1. Julius
    March 19, 2013

    On Serving vs. Helping

    “Serving is different from helping. Helping is based on inequality; it is not a relationship between equals. When you help you use your own strength to help those of lesser strength. If I’m attentive to what’s going on inside of me when I’m helping, I find that I’m always helping someone who’s not as strong as I am, who is needier than I am. People feel this inequality. When we help we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity and wholeness. When I help I am very aware of my own strength. But we don’t serve with our strength, we serve with ourselves. We draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve, our wounds serve, even our darkness can serve. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others and the wholeness in life. The wholeness in you is the same as the wholeness in me. Service is a relationship between equals.”

    Rachel Remen
    Noetic Sciences Review, Spring 1996

  2. Julius
    March 25, 2013

    (via Mark Ruiz of Hapinoy)

    “If we truly want to help the poor, perhaps we simply need to listen to them more. They are much wiser than many of us tend to think—and indeed wiser than many of us, period.”

    No Free Lunch
    Wisdom from the grassroots
    By Cielito F. Habito
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    10:56 pm | Monday, March 25th, 2013

  3. Julius
    March 29, 2013

    (via Leny Stobel of Center for Babaylan Studies)

    “Schooling the World: White Man’s Last Burden”

    “There is an assumption that Western education is something that is superior…. This isn’t even working in America.”

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This entry was posted on March 19, 2013 by in Trabajo Project.

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