House: February 2015 to present Decent housing remains out of reach for many Filipinos especially that the minimum wage is at P8,411 (National Wages and Productivity Commission) versus the P9, 605 per square meter average cost of residential buildings in the Philippines.
Motorcycle: December 2017 To evade traffic and save from the rising transportation fares, more and more Filipinos invest in motorcycles. Depending on the model a brand new motorbike can cost around P20,000 to a hundred. The minimum wage in the Philippines is at P8,411 (National Wages and Productivity Commission)
Humans of FTO: Nica
With her booming voice and assertive personality, Nica exudes a larger-than-life vibe. Behind it all though, she has a shocking confession: she was insecure about her lack of college education. She was frightened by the idea that she would never be able to give her family a comfortable life because she did not have a four-year university degree.
BREAK OF DAWN. Nica joined Fair Trade OutsourcingTM as one of the pioneer agents. Her loyalty and commitment to the company helped it grow to 300 employees.
When Nica was just about to enroll at a local university for a degree in education, she got a last-minute call from her grandmother. She was instructed to drop the plan because they could not possibly afford the extra expenses. Though heartbroken, Nica sadly relented. A relative offered to send her to school, but her grandmother refused. She feared that in addition to being apart, it might mean her granddaughter would have to work as a domestic helper for their relative, which happens all too often in Filipino society. However poor they may be, Nica’s grandma thought it would be better for them to stay together and keep their dignity intact.
SUPER GRANDMA. From just selling nuts and fruits at the wharf, Nica’s grandmother provided for the entire family.
Nica finally earned a scholarship and acquired a two-year diploma in hotel and restaurant management. However, because of the Filipinos’ high regard for a bachelor’s degree she was still concerned she wouldn’t get very far without one.
She tried working at an eatery. She also worked as a cashier and a stocker at various retail stores. When a job opportunity at an outsourcing center came up, Nica overcame her insecurity. Driven by a combination of desperation and ambition for her family, she took the chance. It turned out that of all the applicants, Nica was one of the few who was hired. However, despite the decent pay in her previous company, she grew unhappy due to the toxic work environment.
BETTER CHANCES. Due to financial difficulties, Nica was unable to get a four-year degree. Nonetheless, she persevered and found a good job at FTO. She is pictured here with her nephew and nieces who now have better chances at getting quality education.
That’s when she applied for a job at FTO, and became one of its first employees. They only had plastic chairs and tables. There was not even a fan.
Soon, the number of employees multiplied to 300. Although she started as an agent, Nica was soon promoted to handle an account as team leader. She got so good at it that the client won’t let Nica go, even when she has been offered other assignments.
Using her savings, Nica has been building a house in the city. Her grandmother still sells at the wharf. If you told her you knew her granddaughter, she would smile and her eyes would light up with joy and pride.