That experience allowed us to open up the horizons of our work, to imagine all the other ways that we could connect the Filipino diaspora to its motherland. This was Chapter 2 of our work. It was an era of experimentation, trying a dozen things and failing in all but one if we were lucky. Meanwhile, as a team and a community, we were learning and growing too. After the Philippines, we all ended up back in our different corners of the United States – only to be scattered even more as graduation came and careers changed and people grew up.
I spent much of that chapter working in DC with Ashoka, the nonprofit that had popularized the social entrepreneurship movement. Between downloading all I could from their decades of history and their networks of changemakers, all of my weeknights and weekends were spent working on Kaya Co. I would take every possible opportunity to go back to the Philippines – to peer back into how the community of leaders and friends that I had gotten to know were progressing with their ideas and their movements. Until one fateful drive when Micaela Beltran and I decided to stop everything else and dedicate ourselves to this work full-time.
It’s November 2016 now, and the scene once again looks very different. Where we were once a small group of volunteers in US universities, our global footprint has expanded, and our base in the Philippines now has 3 people working full-time on our mission. Where we were once endlessly experimenting, we now know where we want to go – and for the first time, we have most of the resources at hand to get there. At the very least, enough to start.