By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Pan-Asian insurer FWD has partnered with a local foundation in delivering financial sustainability training for the Aetas of Bamban, Tarlac through a project called “Tanging Tanglaw”.
Spearheaded by the Diwata-Wowen in Resource Development, Inc., they help Aeta women, whom have trained in Barefoot College, Rajasthan, India, to build solar-powered lamps. Called the “Solar Lolas”, these women are actually solar engineers and were trained to make, install, maintain and repair solar-powered lamps in their villages, literally bringing light and hope to what was previously a dark, impoverished community.
Tanging Tanglaw Steering Committee Chairman Annie Dee emphasized that the project doesn’t simply involve providing lights to homes, but also giving the Solar Lolas and their communities the means to improve their lives by also teaching them the basics of leading financially sustainable lives.
The Aetas cannot afford the cost and labor to maintain the solar lamps. Thus, FWD Life Insurance Philippines decided to help the Aeta communities by helping them with financial literacy and teaching them financial sustainability.
Launched in collaboration with the Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development, the FWD Life training program was crafted to help the Aeta community become integrated with financial systems and realize more economic opportunities.
The FWD program modules aim to introduce Aetas to product marketing concepts for their solar-powered lamps.
Roche Vandenberghe, FWD Life Insurance Philippines Head of Marketing and Community Care Lead, said, “We want to help them reach the next level by fostering the mindset for financial sustainability and even entrepreneurship in the Aeta community,” said Vandenberghe.
The initial session hosted by FWD Life and Bayan Academy last December and two in March.