Success Stories

B40 Communities

Celinia

Average Monthly Income Before: PHP700 – Average Monthly Income After: PHP5,000

“Even though it is difficult, the R.I.S.E. program inspired me and made me realize that I can do it. I am now able to provide for my adopted grandchild’s needs through my business.”

On a typical day in one street corner of Tacloban City, you would see Celine smiling while grilling and selling barbecue. She happily attends to her customers, who keep coming back to her because they love her grilled food. Playing beside her is a little boy whom she fondly takes care of as she attends to her customers the whole day. Little do people know, the little playful boy happily smiling to everyone was left alone, neglected and abandoned by his own mother. His name is Niño, and he is the son of Celine’s adopted daughter who went away to a far away province. Sadly, Niño doesn’t know who his biological father is either.

To make matters worse, Niño has cerebral palsy and G6PD, a lifelong illness affecting his blood. Due to this illness, he has a very restricted diet which must be followed consistently to avoid further complications. His mother used to send financial support, but for the last two years, no longer sends any, and has stopped communicating with Celine altogether. With a big heart, Celine and her husband decided to take him in, treating him and caring for him as if he was their youngest child.

Before attending the R.I.S.E. program, Celine’s barbecue business stopped operations frequently. She did not know to run her business properly and she would stay at home to take care of Niño. She lacked the energy and motivation to run her business. Sometimes they would even end up borrowing money from others to help pay for their everyday needs. Her husband is a local depot checker, who gets a salary but most of the time, it was hardly enough for their family. She felt very sad, not knowing how to improve their situation.

When Celine attended the R.I.S.E. program, she felt challenged to improve her business. Her eyes were opened and she felt a renewed strength and confidence. She made a special sauce for her barbecue, which became a big hit. Her customers loved her food and her competitors could not replicate her recipe. Based on what she learned from the Blue Ocean module, she gradually added more and more popular products such as rice, balut, penoy, ice water, cigarettes, and turon.  She even started selling fresh vegetables, which grew around her house. Her approach to customers changed drastically too, based on what she has learned in the Sales Personality module of the R.I.S.E. program. She became kinder and nicer to them, approaching her customers based on their personalities. She even noticed that there were customers with challenging personalities who bought more from her.

After attending the R.I.S.E. program, she now gets all the money she needs from her business and now has savings. She saves everyday, getting her savings from the profits of her barbecue business when she returns home. Now, she is totally debt-free too. Because of her income increase, she is now able to provide and buy things for Niño, which includes daily fruits needed due to his illness. She also pays for Niño’s treatments and medicines. Aside from this, she even helps pay for her sick parents’ daily needs and medication, and also gives some for her biological grandchild’s school needs. She is happy now, and Niño is happy too. With a grateful heart, she said that their lives are starting to change; they are no longer at the very bottom and are gradually rising from the depths of hardship and poverty.

Evs

Average Monthly Income Before: PHP 300 – Average Monthly Income After: PHP 4,000

In 2003, Evs was just tending her sari-sari store when a lady asked her to look after her baby because she needed to go somewhere. Hours passed, the mother still hasn’t returned and Evs began to worry. As she has feared, the mother never came back. Evs, who barely makes ends meet through the income from her small store, decided to just adopt the baby.

After a week, she noticed something unusual with the baby. They went to the doctor and she was informed that the baby has hernia and had to undergo surgery to treat it. Aside from that, she was told that the baby has special needs. Evs didn’t know where to get money for the surgery and medications. She decided to use most of her income and capital for the baby, which led to the closure of her sari-sari store. Because of this, she lost the will to live and threw away her strength and confidence to earn money. She just relied on her children for her and her adopted child’s everyday needs. Life was very difficult, and Evs was very sad, not knowing what to do.

Evs was a skilled hairdresser and beautician, but she didn’t have enough money to buy the tools that she needed to start a salon business. Despite this, she still accepted customers through home service. She earned money from this small business, but it still wasn’t enough to sustain their everyday needs and to support the education of her adopted special child. 

One day, when she went to the school of her special child, the teacher informed her that a training session would be held for PWDs and parents of PWDs, this training was the R.I.S.E. Program. After attending the three-day training, she had a mindset change and her hope in starting a business was renewed. She used the transportation allowance that was given on the third day to buy the tools and products needed for her salon. Before the training, she had a hard time looking for customers. But after the training, more customers started to avail of her services. Through the Blue Ocean module, she also decided to utilize her sewing skills and started a small tailoring business. 

With the help of the R.I.S.E. Program, she regained hope and realized that she needed to continue her business so she can support the needs of her adopted special child. Now, she has regular customers and doesn’t need to worry anymore about having a regular income. Her business is now stable, her income is increasing, and she is now able to support her family’s needs and save for the future of her child. She is also planning to open up a small salon inside her home. Her house is also undergoing renovation, an achievement indeed. She even goes on vacation with her special child now. The advice of her mentors pushed her to continue on improving her business. She is very grateful for the R.I.S.E. Program because it didn’t just help her improve her business, but it also helped her regain her hope in life. According to her, “the R.I.S.E. Program encouraged me to rise up and work hard, to try again in spite of my past failures. I do this not for myself, but for my special child.” 

Rhoda

Average Monthly Income Before: PHP 0 – Average Monthly Income After: PHP 200,000

Rhoda is widowed with two children. One of her children was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and has to visit a neurologist every month for medication, check-up, and therapy. Before attending the training, she was apprehensive to start a business. Since her husband died, she assumed the sole responsibility of raising her children. She was preoccupied making a living out of a meager income. Because of this, she never had a chance to explore her skills and talent for business.

Furthermore, she was shy and lacked self-confidence. However, Rhoda needed to earn sufficient financial support for the growing needs and daily expenses of her family. For years, she had a hard time providing for their monthly utilities because her savings were dwindling. After the training, through the Awareness and Change module, she was empowered to finally decide to venture on a food-based business using a small amount of capital.

In addition, through the Profiling module, she was able to determine the right business for her. This time, she considered her skills, talents, and passion. She managed to perfectly craft her home-made Longganisa and Tocino (local food delicacies) using cheap but quality ingredients. Her home-made food products were an instant hit to her customers. 

Furthermore, she employed the different concepts from the Sales Strategy module and started to promote her products by offering free taste and promotions. Eventually, she was able to grow her customer base, maintaining regular customers and even adding new ones. She also received bulk orders every week. Currently, she uses the Blue Ocean Strategy and managed to revive her brother’s Sari-sari store. She focused on the products that are more sellable to increase the store’s profits.

Now, Rhoda earns more than enough to provide for her family’s monthly expenses. She’s now able to fully support and maintain the medications needed for her child with Cerebral Palsy too. She’s even able to provide for his weekly therapy sessions and monthly check-ups in a neurologic clinic. With a big smile on her face, Rhoda finally achieved her dream of purchasing a wheelchair for her child, a dream she has always had before she started her business. Lastly, she is planning to expand her business by investing in a small freezer for her frozen food products and a refrigerator for light refreshments in their Sari-sari store. Aside from her immediate family, she now fully supports the college education of her niece and nephew. She was able to buy a piece of land in Cabuyao as her investment. Lastly, she plans to open another Sari-Sari store in San Pablo and carinderia  in Metro Manila.

A few months after the training, she managed to expand her business. Currently, she owns (3) three Sari-Sari Stores in the different parts of Laguna particularly in Biñan, Calamba, and Cabuyao. As part of her business expansion, she started to invest in carinderia (food business) as well, where she was able to find a strategic place for it. In addition, she has opened another carinderia in a local school in which her target customers are teachers and students. Her local delicacies are also now being supplied to the markets of Cabuyao and Calamba. From having zero savings, she now has Php500,000 in her Maybank account.

Noor

Average Monthly Income Before: RM 550 – Average Monthly Income After: RM 5,000

Noor Lizah was forced to face a new reality of life at a tender age of 15, when a nerve damage left her paralysed waist below. Life was a constant struggle ever since and things weren’t getting any better when she became a mother of 2.  She struggled with a lot of fear of the future that were accompanied with negative thoughts. Having difficulty to make ends meet, she attempted to start a business of baking and selling cookies. Her business of 2 years was barely fruitful with an inconsistent income of RM550. Her lack of motivation further allowed her to limit herself from going the extra mile for her business.

The Maybank R.I.S.E Programme in 2014, shed a ray of hope in Noor Lizah’s life as she was overcome with a new sense of confidence. During a mentoring session she shared that she has now completely eliminated negative self-talk of any kind and is now able to handle any problem calmly. Her thought process has become more positive, that she is no longer afraid to make decisions or take risks.

According to Noor Lizah, the training has not only equipped her with business skills, but also life skills that have now helped improve her quality of life. She has diversified her products and range of customers. In fact, in her words, she now has “too many customers” as a result of her new marketing strategies learned from the training. She is now bold to ask for constructive feedback from people who purchase her products and consistently makes improvements. She now earns close to RM 5000 from just her business alone.

Prior to the Maybank R.I.S.E Program, Noor Lizah started playing bowling in 2009, due to her interest in sports and realised she truly enjoyed it. In 2010 she was selected to be a representative in the bowling sport and started attending trainings with the Majlis Sukan Negara. Though things seemed to be looking up for her then, it was still a very challenging time for her as she couldn’t fully focus on her new found interest and was still battling with negative thoughts.

However, the newly transformed Noor Lizah after the Maybank R.I.S.E Programme, has started intensively training from March this year for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Para ASEAN Games. She attends full time trainings, 5-days a week without fail, which now seems to be a breeze for her as she no longer finds her disability a reason to not pursue her passion for sports. Her efforts were worth every bit of it when she won a gold medal for the country in the recent Kuala Lumpur 2017 Para ASEAN Games under the tenpin bowling event. She is overwhelmed with joy to have been able to contribute to her motherland despite her disabilities. 

Noor Lizah expressed her utmost gratitude to the Maybank RISE Programme for evoking a spirit of confidence that she never knew she had. She further urges that the programme needs to be made  available for more disabled people who are under similar circumstances as hers to help empower and bring out their potential. She wants more people with disabilities to realise that they can make anything possible as long as they put their mind to it. 

Noor Lizah has become a very optimistic person who now aspires to improve her business to another level where she can provide job opportunities for other disabled people and empower them with her skills and knowledge. Now that she has a career in sports as well, Noor Lizah desires to contribute to the country’s gold medal count in the upcoming 2018 Para ASEAN Games that is to be held in Indonesia. 

Aside from all of these, what brings immeasurable joy to Noor Lizah, is when her kids noticed a drastic transformation of character in her after the Maybank R.I.S.E Programme. Hearing them acknowledge her boost in confidence and ability to expand her business, made her feel like there was a purpose to all of her previous struggles. Being able to save consistently has been a new positive change in her life and her fear of not being able to educate her kids who are aged 23 and 16, is now long gone.  Her family also have no trouble with transportation anymore, now that they own a Perodua Bezza. Nor Lizah now sleeps peacefully at night without being troubled by guilt or fear of any kind. She hopes to be able to move out from her flat, into a terrace house and works consistently towards that goal.

 

Mohd

Average Monthly RM 1,500 – Average Monthly Income After: RM 3,000

Mohd Zaiani bin Mohd Diah was an average, active child who like any other children his age, loved to play with friends. In 1989, just a few days before the school holidays, an unfortunate accident happened when one of his friends shot bamboo sticks with a slingshot-like toy. On that ill-fated day, Mohd Zaiani who was then only 10 years old became blind in his left eye, and was left with limited vision in his right.

Life has not been any kinder to him after that either. Almost his entire life, Zaiani has had to beg on the streets to make ends meet. Whilst he did work as a masseur, his income has never been enough to support his life. He goes to the street to beg, and provided massage services if it was requested.

In 2006, he got scammed by a friend of his. Zaiani’s friend brought him to the bank on the pretext of opening a bank account. As the contract was in English, and him being illiterate, Zaiani signed the papers without knowing what was written on it. It turns out that the contract was for a credit card, and his friend has used about RM30,000 with the card. Due to this, Zaiani’s home which he shared with his brother was almost seized back by the authorities.

Zaiani continued this lifestyle of begging on the streets and providing massage services if requested until 2016, when he joined the RISE programme. He was finally able to break away from poverty as a result of attending the course and actively working with the mentors subsequently. He now no longer needs the financial assistance provided by JKM as he is more than capable of standing on his own two feet. In fact, received an award from JKM as “Usahawan Contoh (OKU)”. He Zaiani attributes his success to learning and applying strategies to improve his business and also lessons on how to properly manage his finances.

He started actively promoting and advertising his home-based massage and cupping services by handing out flyers. From there, he started getting more businesses and more requests from customers as he was more readily contactable, and his service was made known to the general public. When his services started to get more traction, he set up a stall at Seremban Jaya providing his services. It was also at this time where he also hired assistants, some of whom are also OKUs at the stall. He was later able to expand his businesses strategically by targeting customers. He opened his second branch at Pusat Peranginan in Ulu Bendul, targeting tourists, and the third branch at Pusat Sukan dan Rekreasi in Seremban, targeting tired sportsmen.

In February 2018, Zaiani won the “Best Massage” award in a competition among masseurs held in Melaka. His success story was featured in Berita Harian, Kosmo and Surat Khabar Negeri Sembilan. More recently, students of Universiti Utara Malaysia has requested to interview him as art of the research in writing a book on traditional medicine.As a result of this, Zaiani is also now confident in diversifying his services to include offering courses on traditional Malay massage and cupping.

Previously, Zaiani has never managed to keep any savings. Ever since he learned the best practices of personal financial management, he is now appropriating his funds carefully. He has a detailed plan allocating certain amounts to savings, expenses and investments. For 37 years, Zaiani has never been able to have any savings as his income was only barely enough for him to survive the day. Now however, he is feeling much more relieved that he could pay off the debt that he owes the bank as a results of the scam. To date, he has already paid half of the amount owed. Not only that, he is actively saving up towards building a buffer for times of emergency.

With proper planning of his finances and increased income, Zaiani has recently bought a second hand car and hire a driver for his family. He has always felt guilty and reluctant to travel as he had to rely on the goodwill of others to fetch him around since he can’t drive. There were also times when he feels that people were not very willing to assist him, and he has to face their scorns and sneers. Now, a trusted friend from his boyhood days has offered to drive Zaiani and family around in his newly bought car at a small fee. This has increased his mobility to travel around from branch to branch, and also to venues where people have requested for the massage and cupping course. Not only that, this has proven to be a huge convenience to his family (his wife is also visually impaired) they are able to travel more frequently as a family.

Most importantly, in order to avoid his children from suffering the same fate he did when he was growing up, Zaiani is now focusing on his children’s education. His eldest son has secured a scholarship to attend a boarding school for his secondary education. Zaiani believes his son has the potential to achieve much more, and is thus now saving up for his tertiary education.

Despite turning his life around and achieving success, Zaiani who is now 39 years old, remains humble and generous. As he is able to empathise with those who are less fortunate, Zaiani donates rice and money to people in need of help. He has also helped his elder brother who is working as a hard labour. Zaiani gave away his motorcycle to his brother in hopes that it would assist him to be more mobile and is able to travel more easily to work.

 

Azila

Average Monthly RM 1,500 – Average Monthly Income After: RM 4,000

Azila has never had the privilege of living a normal childhood as she was born with spina bifida, binding her to the wheelchair ever since then. But that didn’t stop her from becoming the positive person that she is, which led her to become a representative for Malaysia’s Paralympic for Ping Pong.

Juggling between training and taking care of her family, Azila would find ways to keep the family afloat by running a tuition centre to teach the neighbourhood children. However, she became too busy to find new and innovative ways to expand her business. On top of that, she lacked self-confidence in herself and did not have the confidence to approach new customers.

After attending the RISE training by Maybank Foundation, she started implementing the things she learned from the course. Through the Awareness and Change Module, she learned how to flip her thoughts into positive ones, making her confident in finding ways to improve her business. With that, she used the learnings from the Customer Analysis module and discovered that her students enjoy engaging activities, which led her to plan fun and educational activities for the students by signing them up for affordable classes and workshops. This helped gain more popularity among students, which helped increase her customer base.

With the growing tuition business, Azila eventually decided to switch her tuition strategy from a classroom approach to a personal tutor approach, which gave her more time to spare, and also charge parents a higher rate.

RISE taught her to be more innovative with her ideas and not to simply focus on one source of income. She then gained the confidence to pursue her baking hobby and turn it into a business. This sudden boost of confidence took place at the Maybank Malaysian Open (MMO) 2015 event when she was given a chance to promote and sell her products, which was her first time ever to sell her baked goods. Other than that, she noticed visible changes in her self-confidence and was also inspired with ideas on how she can improve her business and also herself.

Azila mentioned that she can now afford to take her family out for food and even contribute for the monthly provision funds. According to Azila, “RISE isn’t just about improving your business skills; it is also about improving your life skills”.

 

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