To empower marginalized people in the society by healing their hearts, providing them opportunities to redeem their self-esteem and make profit through eco-friendly means.
Environmental initiatives like providing awareness and teaching them environmental science or short eco-courses at the grassroots level (e.g. solid waste management and producing products out of garbage, mapping their lands, skills training) and other initiatives that can be tailor-fitted to the needs of their own community can actually help them get a job and get them going. This can be done by tapping with organizations in Davao City such as the Talikala Inc., the Marist Congregation, Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon – Davao and other experts such as YSEALI participants to help implement such feats by the end of the year 2014 (December).
Social inequality, in whatever form, - may it be in the social strata defined by jobs, financial status, gender or social roles - presents to be one of the pressing problems in every society. It indirectly hinders growth and development. For developing countries like the Philippines, inequality is quite defined and visible especially when it comes to financial capacity. People who are on or below the poverty line and are not educated have difficulty feeding themselves, much less be accepted to jobs, and take on opportunities to better their lives. Examples of these people are those in prison, people who live in poverty-stricken areas and those who are victims of human trafficking and violence. Most of them, due to social stigma, are having a hard time assimilating themselves back to society. Also, they don’t have the resources to move forward.
In particular, sex trafficking in Davao is now alarming (Tejano, Sun.Star, 2012). Davao has become one of the top five cities in the country for sex tourism and child prostitution. These “Philippine women are vulnerable to trafficking due to Asian economic crisis (Hughes, 2001)”. Having no means to provide for their basic needs, they are either forced by other people or they do it from their own will. As a result, these women either get stuck to doing prostitution and as a consequence, these women, if not all, have difficulty facing society, as they carry with them the social stigma.
Providing opportunities for these people does not only help them but in the greater perspective of things, the nation will also be empowered. Mostly, what these people want is to feel they are significant members of the society by having jobs that are "dignified". By their contribution to the country's workforce, they will feel integrated to their communities once again.
However, like birds with broken wings, these people cannot fly on their own. Someone has to help them heal and push them to try flying once more. In a way, collaborating with these people to help in environmental initiatives may be just a step in their journey towards healing and self-actualization. But then, every journey starts with a single step.
ECOpportunities is an environmental initiative created to help the people who are considered to be marginalized in the society. Specifically, it focuses on women who are victims of prositution, prisoners in jailhouses, and underpriviledged children by giving them second chances to living their lives, improving their quality of living, gaining sustainable life skills to make profit, and empowering others to do the same.