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The Wave of Women-Managed Enterprises after Typhoon Rai: Shimalyn’s Story

It was lunchtime and Shimalyn Flores, 48, rushed to display the last tray of food she cooked to sell at her carenderia or roadside food stall in San Isidro, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte. Soon, people will eat or buy food for their lunch. Some of them are those who tour the island and find themselves hungry along the highway.

She noted that small businesses like hers have sprouted now that tourism has become vibrant again since the onslaught of Typhoon Rai (Odette) in 2021. When the typhoon hit, most of the small businesses were destroyed. She used to cook hamburgers and viands that she peddled in different areas of the town. The typhoon damaged all her cooking equipment which made it even more difficult to start cooking and selling again.

As the sole breadwinner for her child and elderly parents, she was at a loss as to how to provide for her family. They relied on the relief goods and assistance given by the government and non-government humanitarian organizations to survive daily.

When the relief operations ended, she loaned from a financial service provider and invested in a small pushcart which she filled with rice-based delicacies, shaved ice dessert, burgers, viand, and other street food. She sold these around town in areas where foot traffic is heavy. She had to make sure that all her goods were sold so that she could pay her loan and provide for her family’s needs. Some days are good, and some days are bad for business, hence, she dreaded the times when her income was not enough to pay even the loan’s interest.

When CARE Philippines came and presented the WAVES (Women Adding Value to the Economy in Siargao) project to her community, Shimalyn was one of the participants who were selected to receive livelihood support from the project. Along with other small women entrepreneurs, she was trained by technical experts from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Surigao del Norte on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. She then received the project’s 15,000-peso cash grant for her livelihood recovery after the training.

I became confident again to take the risks of improving my business because of what I learned on business and finance management and because I have the capital to use,” she shared.

She bought cooking equipment and ingredients and rented a space where she would sell her goods. She also included some groceries to diversify her products. She shared that having a rented space made selling easier for her than before when she went from one community to another carrying her goods.

I have increased my income. I am also paying up my loan. And I was able to provide better for my family,” she added.

CARE Philippines works with 1,175 women and men entrepreneurs in Santa Monica, Burgos, San Isidro, Pilar, Del Carmen and Dapa municipalities in Siargao in recovering and sustaining their livelihood and increasing their resiliency through the WAVES project supported by the Tijori Foundation.

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