Saturday, July 25, 2015

Alpabasa is the winner of the 2015 Pharmaton Life Changers' Challenge

Several months ago, I attended the launch of the search for Pharmaton's newest Life Changers. Pharmaton was looking to award PhP 1 million to the best social enterprise idea that would have a significant life-changing impact on the community it aimed to serve.

Recently, I attended its Finals Night and watched as 9 inspiring social enterprise groups made their final pitches to the judges before the final decision was made. That honor, with PhP 1 million seed money for their social enterprise idea, went to Oras Na Para sa Alpabasa - a group of 3 young lady educators with a huge vision but needing funding support. Congratulations!

The proponents behind Alpabasa are Sholeh Villoria, Noelle Pabiton & Tisha Gonzalez-Cruz. Tisha, who began Alpabasa, shares that she realized that kids will learn how to read faster if it incorporated music, movement, games and activities in learning. Alpabasa's dream is "to provide teachers, classrooms, and schools with the Alpabasa Series and equip them to teach reading to kindergarten or early elementary students in need of remediation or intervention".

The social impact is going to be quite broad. They are looking at 30 classroom settings with 60 kids in each classroom, at least 1,800 new young readers per year; 9,000 new readers in 5 years. They have tested Alpabasa and say that they can produce readers who can read phrases, sentences and stories after just 2 months and fluent within a year. This would really be amazing in terms of raising the literacy levels in our youth and securing them a better future.

Here's Alpabasa's video pitch for Pharmaton's Life Changers search:

The Other Finalists -- Just as Inspiring

The judges said they had a difficult time choosing from among the finalists because all were good causes and very inspiring. I have to agree, looking at what the other finalists had pitched. I would like to feature them here as well in hopes that someone out there, a corporation, organization or individual, may help fund their social enterprises as well.

1. Silent Beads - Have you ever heard of seeds that can be worn now and planted later? This is what Silent Beads plans to do as livelihood projects for the deaf communities in the country. I met 2 of the 3 proponents (Monnick Cruz, Bernadeth Balagbagan & Bryan Cruz) who showed me samples of their beautiful fashion jewelry that had seeds embedded in them. The seeds have an expiry date so before expiry date, you can just bury the jewelry (which is biodegradable) in the ground and the seed becomes a plant eventually.

Can you believe there are seeds inside these that can be planted later?

Here's Silent Beads' video:

2. The Three Mush-keteers - These 3 proponents (John Regie Anthony Jaminal, Billy Joel Santos, Ivan Gamboa) are mushroom advocates who want to sustain farming communities. They plan to start with 5 farms, then expand these to 20 farms after a year and 100 farms within 3 years. Seen as a possible anti-cancer food, mushrooms are also great for decomposing waste and creating nutritious food.

Watch their video.

3. Prepper Plus Go-Bags - Biboy Castanares, Martin Veerayah, and Miggy Lazaro are three high school friends whose families have experienced disaster situations. This inspired this social enterprise idea -- to distribute disaster preparedness bags to 250 households still living in the danger zones (seaside villages) of Tacloban City.

Watch their video.

4. Red Light District - You can imagine what went through my mind as I tried to figure out what the product was all about. Turns out, this is a product that is also great for disaster risk reduction. This is a pole that has a light that turns red, blue or green to warn people if an area affected by a disaster is safe or dangerous. Several poles establish a map grid that rescuers can use for planning rescue, aid. Proponents are Mark Lven Tupa Palejaro, Venerando Riga Palejaro, and Rollando Riga Palejaro.

Watch their video.

5. Kiddo-preneur - The duo, Maiki and Quinto Oreta, are seeking, through this project, to introduce kids to entrepreneurship and hopefully shape the tycoons of tomorrow. This reminds me of KidZania - the kiddie entertainment center that lets kids experience different professions.

Watch their video.

6. The Passion Wearthy Project - This was another idea I loved -- reusing non-recyclable plastic bags and converting them into school bags with a built-in raincoat inside. What makes this meaningful is that physically challenged workers would form the production team. In addition, the bags will be sold as twins, i.e., for every bag bought, another bag will be given to an underprivileged child. Proponents: Meryl Grace Agudelo, John Michael Dellariaite

Watch their video.

7. Siargao Island Football Academy (SIFA) - The idea of Jeff Diego & Mark McMahon, a soccer player, is to teach soccer to 50 kids. Beyond just soccer, the kids will learn how to compete, work as a team, and strive for a goal.

Here is their video.

8. Teaching K-12 Science Using Indigenous Tools - Proponents Nikki Vergara and Ian Ganhinhin aim to train teachers from the Mission Schools of Bukidnon to teach K-12 Science using tools found in their area. Teachers will be able to teach K-12-compliant science without the need for expensive materials.

Here is their video.

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