Michelle Obama, Julia Roberts join forces to help empower girls in Asia

UNTV News   •   December 12, 2019   •   662

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The former first lady of the United States and one of Hollywood’s most recognizable leading ladies teamed up on Thursday for a talk focusing on their joint efforts to empower girls to become future leaders.

Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts reflected on their trip to Vietnam to work with the Girls Opportunity Alliance – a program belonging to the Obama Foundation – and shared personal anecdotes in an on-stage conversation moderated by Malaysian presenter Deborah Henry in Kuala Lumpur.

“Intellect knows no gender. Possibility doesn’t know race. It doesn’t know religion,” Obama said at the start of her wide-ranging chat with Roberts and Henry before an audience mainly comprised of young people taking part in the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific Program. “Kids are born on this Earth with a thing in them – either it gets developed or it gets squandered.”

“To think there are 98 million girls out there that were born just like I was, just like Julia was, with a hunger, with a something in them that they know they have – regardless of what they’re told – and to have that not be invested in… that’s what sinks hopes, that’s what wastes minds and that’s what wastes resources,” the charismatic ex-FLOTUS, lawyer and writer added.

The colloquy was part of a five-day event that kicked off on Tuesday at the Malaysian capital gathering together 200 emerging leaders from 33 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific Region recently selected to participate in the foundation’s program. Activities include plenary sessions, workshops, leadership development training and community service projects.

“Our heroes are all here,” Roberts said as she addressed the diverse and youthful crowd attending the event. “We just maybe don’t know each others’ names.”

“I know that walking into every room, somewhere there is a new hero for me to discover,” the Academy Award winner added.

Obama, on the other hand, gave her own advice to the so-called Obama Leaders: “Trust your gut. And don’t get discouraged, because we can’t afford for you to be discouraged. You’re next up – we’re tapping out, and we’re tapping you in and what we want you to do is lead with compassion.”

“Stay high, ’cause going low never works,” she concluded. “So good luck, and God bless you all.”

On Monday, Obama and Roberts, along with Jenna Bush Hager (the daughter of Barack Obama’s predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush), had toured a high school in rural Vietnam and met with female students to promote their schooling, urging the teens to stay committed to their education as a way to transform their lives.

“It will get tough at times – it already has for some of you – but it is well worth it,” Obama told the girls. “Even if your families don’t understand that today, trust me, they will when you go off to college or start your businesses.”

The former first lady, whose spouse sat in the Oval Office between 2009-17, recently published her bestselling memoir, “Becoming,” in which she detailed the personal experiences that led her to become a highly-accomplished, Harvard-educated attorney and university administrator, as well as a happy mother and prominent advocate for women and girls. EFE-EPA


PRO-7 launches first all-women police station in Siquijor

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 16, 2019

The Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 has launched its first all-women police station in the province of Siquijor.

The police station, named ‘Mariang Pulis’, is located in the Municipality of Maria. According to the PRO 7, the women-dominated police station follows the rich history of the municipality.

According to their post, “long before the Spaniards came to Siquijor, a settlement known as “Kangmaya”, named after a famous woman, already existed. It was eventually renamed to “Maria”.

This is part of the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s initiative to promote women empowerment in the force.

“Having initiated this new concept of gender and development for policewomen in Siquijor, the Mariang Pulis signals the time to move forward in promoting the vision and mission of the PNP in creating an opportunity for women to strengthen their role in the context of policing in the law enforcement pillar,” according to Siquijor Police Provincial Office (SPPO) Provincial Director PCol. Angela Rejano.—AAC

Tala lending app captures victorious smiles of women winning at life

Marje Pelayo   •   March 29, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – In celebration of Women’s Month, money lending firm Tala Philippines shared inspiring stories captured in photographs through a photo series called “Ngiting Tagumpay.”

The campaign featured users of the Tala money lending app, an online company that provides financial services to people left behind by traditional credit channels.

It also offers loans that help customers build a digital credit history in the long run.

In celebration of Women’s Month, the “Ngiting Tagumpay” campaign features real Tala users who were photographed while remembering their real-life victories. The photos celebrate the countless other women who fight—and win—very real battles day in, and day out.

Bea, a 54-year-old mother and budding garment entrepreneur from Taguig, sported the “Napalago pa ang Negosyo” look.

A year ago, her small garment business almost folded due to lack of capital. But she persevered, thanks to a lender that recognizes emerging players like herself.

“Nung una kong nakita yung Tala, inisip ko kung totoo ba ‘to,” (When I first learned about Tala, I wondered if it was legit) explains Bea, who says she is extra careful with anything that has to do with her venture as the smallest mistake could end it. “Nabigyan ako ng pag-asa nung natanggap ko yung unang loan ko,” (I regained hope when I received my first loan)she adds.

With that small loan, Bea was able to breathe new life into her apparel business. She’s incredibly proud when customers wear her garments, and it shows in the smile that she wears on her face.

Andy, a 31-year-old freelancer, shone in her “May Savings na for Baby” glow.

Moms make amazing sacrifices when it comes to their child’s welfare. For Andy, it meant giving up a lucrative overseas job to take care of her son at home. She did a bit of freelancing to support her kid. But despite her efforts, money still fell short at times.

“As a freelancer, collecting fees can be a challenge. Pay is often delayed, and that really messes up the household budget,” says Andy. “There are times when I thought about drawing from the account I’ve set aside for my child.”

Luckily, Andy discovered Tala, which helped her find a way around her problem. Since loan approvals take just a few minutes, she was able to beat payment deadlines without having to redo her budgeting. She smiles all the way to the bank, knowing that she makes her son’s future a little bit brighter every day.

And lastly, 42-year-old housewife-entrepreneur Aimee, showed off her “Ngiting confidently beautiful sa Pag-budget” .

There are good entrepreneurs. There are good housewives. Aimee is the special type of woman that’s good at both, and she represents the growing number of women that have been empowered by microfinance. 

Aimee grew a small loan into a business venture that made her a financially independent housewife. She invested her first P1,000 to sell packed food, then reinvested what she earned until her business took on a life of its own. Now, her business has grown to include frozen food, beauty products, and even a small micro-lending operation of her own. She has many more ideas in her head, and none of them include asking her husband for money. That keeps her smiling every day!

Real Smiles, Real Empowerment

As Tala country manager Angelo Madrid said, “Real smiles are drawn from happiness, and nothing inspires happiness more than the feeling that you’re trusted and empowered.”

“These smiles remind us of why we keep doing what we do at Tala,” he added.

A California-based company, Tala analyzes data from one’s smart phone to gauge an individual’s ability and willingness to repay loans.

Currently, Tala has already provided loans to over 2.5 million people worldwide. – Marje Pelayo

Obama bids farewell: “You were the change”

admin   •   January 12, 2017

President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd as he arrives to deliver his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois. REUTERS/John Gress

“You were the change. You answered people’s hopes. And because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started,” said outgoing United States President Barack Obama in his farewell speech.

An emotional Pres. Obama said this is the time for him to thank the American people for inspiring him over the last eight years, for keeping him honest and for making him ‘a better man’.  He called for a peaceful transition of power when Donald Trump becomes president on January 20th.

“The peaceful transfer of power from one freely-elected president to the next. I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me,” he said.

Obama went on to list the accomplishments of his eight-year presidency.

“If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history. If I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot and take out the mastermind of 9/11. If I had told you that we would win marriage equality and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – You might have said our sights were set a little too high.”

Later on, he paid tribute to his family as he called his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, “his best friend,” commending her for bringing the White House closer to the people.

“You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud and you’ve made the country proud,” Obama told his wife.

Obama has revealed his post-presidency plans where he hopes to dedicate himself to training and advising a new wave of politicians especially within the Democratic Party to rebuild its glory.

The democratic president is nostalgic as he prepares to leave the White House on January 20 after eight years in office.

Unlike most first families who are eager to return to a life far away from the White House, the Obamas will be spending their first two years as private individuals just around Washington D.C. — Kath Carriedo | UNTV News & Rescue


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