In the midst of tragedy, Anna Veloso Tuazon of social enterprise Abre Linea -- along with two of her high school friends -- has become the light at the end of the tunnel for Typhoon Haiyan survivors in Leyte and Samar of central Philippines. This is her story.
I am Anna Veloso Tuazon, a lawyer, a mom, a wife, and a social entrepreneur. My family is from Leyte, while my husband’s family is from Samar. I spent a considerable part of my childhood in Tacloban City, Leyte, and even though I attended high school, college and law school in Manila, summers were usually spent in Tacloban, where my grandparents and extended family were based. My parents and grandparents were big believers in investing in and empowering people, and, they made it a point to instill in us generosity of spirit, concern for the disadvantaged, and appreciation for our stories and heritage.
My highschool friends and I established Abre Linea in response to the urgent call to provide livelihood opportunities in Leyte and Samar, after Typhoon Haiyan relief started to taper off. We chose to work with weavers in Leyte and Samar because we love their handwoven mats and bags, and understood the need to preserve the craft with more modern colors and designs made readily available to an appreciative global market that understands their value and finds meaning and satisfaction in sustaining these artisans.Through Abre Linea, we literally open the line to help.
By trial and error, attempts to manage expectations, and considerable doses of faith, prudence, and patience.
It is important that more Filipino women lead the way in advocating social responsibility through financially sustainable entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship is premised on empowerment, gently coaxed yields, and patient capital; in my opinion, no one understands this interplay the way Filipino women do. Filipino culture, family dynamics, and the relationships we nurture have heightened our sense of compassion and made us adept at utilizing available resources and our networks of aid and support to make a difference in providing a better quality of life for the disadvantaged. We intuitively understand the synergy of teamwork and shared resources, and are comfortable collaborating and sharing networks to create greater social impact.
I think women can be truly empowered in today’s global landscape by giving them access to opportunities that allow them to thrive, come into their own, openly speak their truth, and bask in their authenticity knowing that they are appreciated and affirmed by those who matter most to them.
Shop for Abre Linea products HERE.