House: April 2018 to present The average cost of residential buildings in the Philippines is at P9,605 per square meter. Decent housing remains out of reach for many Filipinos especially since the minimum wage is at P8,411 (National Wages and Productivity Commission).
Education: March 2018 Only 23% of Filipinos get college degrees because of financial constraints. As a graduate with a BS in Mass Communications, Mimi wished to earn a Diploma in Teaching and was able to finance herself while working. Postgraduate studies can cost anywhere from P3,900 to P12,000 per year.
Humans of FTO: Mimi
Damsel in Success
Mimi’s mother was a country girl who ventured into the city to finish college and find work. Unfortunately, she only finished high school, which closed a lot of doors for her. Unable to find work, she resorted to peddling different products on the street. It’s a grassroots kind of entrepreneurship that gave her family a steady source of income.
If she could not realize her dreams for herself, she labored from dusk to dawn to make them possible for her five children. For low class families, this life can be hard on the body and spirit that she was once derided by a relative, “If you can’t send them all to school, don’t. You’re too ambitious!” Nonetheless, she went on working from sunup to sundown to peddle goods like handkerchiefs and caps while her husband plied the streets as a tricycle driver.
Dining at restaurants used to be a luxury for Mimi’s family. But with each other’s support, eating out at restaurants has become a regular event
All these sacrifices left an indelible mark on Mimi’s mind. At a young age, she swore to herself she would fulfill her mother’s dream. So serious was she that she vowed not to entertain any suitors or get a boyfriend until she graduated from college to avoid distractions. Study. Get a degree. Find a job. That was the plan.
As soon as she got her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, she set out to find a job and contribute to her family’s income. First she worked as a producer at a popular regional TV network, then as a call center agent, and after that as an administrative assistant at a local government office. However, she wanted to earn a Diploma in Teaching, and needed a job that could help her pay for her schooling. She was referred by a friend to Rethink-Fair Trade Outsourcing.
NEVER STOP LEARNING. Her mother couldn’t afford a college degree for herself so Mimi resolved not to waste her opportunities.
With incredible time management, Mimi managed to work and finish her postgraduate studies at the same time. She went on to get her master’s degree this summer. And as if she weren’t busy enough, Mimi was selected to be a team leader for five different accounts throughout her two years of employment. This past January, she was promoted to operations manager.
“At first, I found it a bit overwhelming, but I realized I should be thankful because it means the management trusts me. And the support is always there,” she said.
With Mimi and two of her siblings now working and earning their own money, the family’s income is now enough for their day-to-day needs. Their parents can retire any time they wanted to. But they didn’t. Mimi’s father still works as a tricycle driver and her mother as a sidewalk vendor, but that’s only because working all their lives has made them uncomfortable doing nothing at home.
Her mother’s dream came true; all of her children received their college degrees. And Mimi swears that she gets her will and strength from her mama.
POWER GIRL. This operations manager with a postgraduate degree in Education travels to and from work in a motorcycle.