The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Carolina Larin no longer carries stocks of plastic buckets over her shoulders to barter for used clothes around slum communities in Metro Manila. Instead of money, Larin and her sister would in the past ask customers for hand-me-down clothes which they sell to a regular client who buys these in bulk.
All that changed in 2009 when they saw a Segunda Mana charity store as they passed by the office of Caritas Manila in Pandacan. It was like an answered prayer, she recalls, as her regular customer had just died and she was also growing tired of carrying buckets and tubs around town.
Segunda Mana, a special donations-in-kind program of Caritas Manila, sells almost all types of used, old and new items gathered from corporate and individual donations. They are sold very cheap, with the proceeds used to fund four of Caritas’ pro-poor programs.
On Sunday morning another Segunda Mana outlet was opened in downtown Manila, pitching the motto “Buying is the new giving,” in a bid to drive home the message that buying the donated second-hand, or even brand-new, items continues the chain of charity on which the whole enterprise is anchored.
Larin, the 60-year-old mother of six, took the opportunity offered by the first Segunda Mana store in 2009. She bought all sorts of items from clothes, to bags, and shoes to sell. Instead of carrying plastic buckets above her shoulders, Larin, who lives in Tondo, started to take items that her meager budget could afford, and sold them in communities as far as Pandacan and Sampaloc.
“Hindi na ako pagod na sulong-sulong ko yung mga balde at batya. Hindi pa kami lakad nang lakad at nababasa ng ulan. Dito na lang kami namimili,” she said at the opening of Segunda Mana’s seventh branch at the Isetann Cinerama Complex in Recto.
Charity as an enterprise
Gilda Cortez, Segunda Mana’s program head, said the project started through a fundraising drive during Caritas Manila’s 55th founding anniversary five years ago. The idea is to promote giving among Filipinos to support projects for the less privileged.
Since it started in 2007, there are now seven branches of Segunda Mana charity stores all over Metro Manila and close to P40 million in proceeds generated, according to Cortez.
She added Caritas is also looking at opening two more outlets this year as it continues to accept donations from about more than a thousand corporate and individual donors. “Marami kasing mababait ngayon na [There are many kind-hearted people these days who are] very generous,” she said.