BARRY CAMIQUE: Hope Bearer Social Entrepreneur

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After a successful career in retail industry, Barry Camique was asked by Caritas Manila (the Philippine Catholic Church’s charity arm) to head its don...

Дата загрузки:2021-05-02T09:55:10+0000

After a successful career in retail industry, Barry Camique was asked by Caritas Manila (the Philippine Catholic Church’s charity arm) to head its donations / social enterprise arm called Segunda Mana. Within years of Barry taking the reins, Segunda Mana grew by leaps and bounds and the number of indigent scholars sponsored from its earnings exponentially grew too.

Segunda Mana started in 2008 as just a garage sale in the Caritas Manila headquarters. Now after 14 years they have 36 outlets in malls all over Metro Manila and CALABARZON and one outlet in Western Visayas. They sell second hand and overstock items donated to Caritas Manila.

Barry shared one of the highlights of his work in Segunda Mana. In 2017, he attended the graduation of the 700 scholars that Segunda Mana sponsored from Palo, Leyte. These 700 scholars are Typhoon Yolanda survivors who graduated four years after the terrible typhoon. Caritas Manila sponsored their studies and helped them complete their education.

“A lot of them are orphans. A lot of them attended the graduation alone,” Barry describes how emotional he became hearing their testimonies and seeing the fruits of his social enterprise work. “When I was there, I kept on leaving the site because I could not contain the hope that this program gave them.” The scholars are now paying forward in their own ways.

In 2019, Barry attended the graduation of the first batch of Caritas scholars from Basilan who are all Muslim students. “Nobody knows that the Catholic school funded their education and I was so glad I was there. To be approached by a Muslim parent, thanking you for molding their children is something else.”

“So that is why I am glad that destiny, or fate, or both, led me to Ms. Rose (GKONOMICS) because now the head of the (Caritas} Scholarship Program is now talking to Ms. Jean (Jainab Abdulmajid of GK Sulu) for the possibility that we will launch the scholarship program this time in Sulu.”

COVID Pivoting
Although the COVID pandemic halted Segunda Mana’s mall operations, Barry was able to pivot quite well in large part because of his learnings from the Ateneo Masters in Social Enterprise Development (MESEDEV) program in 2016 where he was part of the first batch together with GKONOMICS’ Pinky Poe. The MESEDEV program helped Barry and Segunda Mana focus on greater business potentials and made the social enterprise more sustainable now.

“In 2017, we started to wean Segunda Mana from second hand items and we got into non-moving inventory of different retail partners. You’d be surprised of the overstock of so many of them.” The pandemic even gave rise to an opportunity for Segunda Mana because many of the closed retails stores who couldn’t pay rent left behind items which were donated to Segunda Mana and were converted to cash to continue funding for scholars, especially since the education expenses like tablets and internet continued despite the pandemic.

COVID put a stop to Segunda Mana’s biggest revenue earners, the indoor mall stores and bazaars but they have found a way around it by having al fresco or outdoor bazaars, after all, that is how they started, as a garage sale outdoors.

What the Future Holds
Barry is excited for what the future holds for Segunda Mana. Aside from the scholarship program they fund, they have other examples of social impact like hiring many workers who have been rejected by the malls and regular retail stores dues to age. They are also now working with a PUP Professor and his team on repurposing many of the items they receive as donation. Many possibilities exist for that.

Discussions are also ongoing for a possible Balikbayan Project or even a social enterprise in the USA in partnership with GK USA, GKONOMICS, and Segunda Mana where the excesses in America could be channeled to those who are in need in the Third World. Volunteers and interested social entrepreneurs are most welcome to move these ideas forward.
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