The impact of sponsorship ripples beyond just a monthly monetary transaction from sponsors to sponsored friends.
A group of 36 sponsored families from Isabela, located in the northeastern-most part of the Philippines, has banded together to create a fertilizer cooperative. They sell the fertilizer to generate income as they challenge poverty daily.
They began the cooperative in August 2015 with less than $40 of capital. That was all they needed to start the process of mixing all the right materials to create an affordable fertilizer they could sell to the many farmers in their community.
The sponsored families decided to create a fertilizer cooperative because Isabela is one of the country’s major crop producing areas for foods like rice and corn.
The sponsored families see many advantages to working collaboratively as a cooperative, rather than individually. Henry’s daughter April was sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Fox from Michigan, and Henry, who is also a town counselor, believes the cooperative will help its members in several ways.
“The income will be received by the individual members directly,” Henry said. “We will also come up with savings to make our capital much bigger and eventually produce another livelihood that could help us more to develop. There will also be help coming from the local government [in governing the co-op].”
The process of creating the fertilizer requires a handful of raw materials, including manure and dried rice stalks, and a heavy dose of patience.
After mixing all the materials initially, the pile may be seven to eight feet deep. It is covered and allowed to rest for two weeks before mixing it again. During a 45 day span, the pile of raw materials is mixed eight times before it is shoveled into sacks to be sold in their community.
“This livelihood is really put up with all the efforts of parents from Unbound here in our area,” said Pastor Jeffrey, whose son Monchester is sponsored by Sheila in Arizona. “It really helps us to get additional income for our families even if it isn’t that big. But we dream someday it will be bigger and we could generate more sustainable livelihood for all of us.”
What is remarkable about this project is the collective buy-in from all the sponsored families. Pastor Jeffrey says the participation extends even further.
“We already encouraged the 100 percent total participation of all the parents in the sponsorship program of Unbound here in our area,” Pastor Jeffrey said, “and even the sponsorship applicants who are waiting for their child to be sponsored are also participating already.”
As this cooperative continues to flourish and provide an additional income for its members, the hope is to reinvest some of the profits back into creating another more lucrative livelihood project.
“We are hoping to have our own rice store, to produce our own rice mill,” Henry said. “That would eventually help us more and generate more income for our families.”
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