When local mothers need to buy milk in the early morning, or neighbors come knocking on her door late at night for medicine, Angeline is their rock. Fifteen-hour work days are the norm for this successful entrepreneur, as she runs her sari-sari (variety store) in Antique province, supplying and connecting the community.
Angeline credits her good fortune to her involvement with ASHI, a microfinance organization and Grameen Foundation partner. When Angeline and her mother took out an ASHI loan, their first purchase was a store freezer. From that humble beginning, they transformed her mother’s store, stocked with only a few necessities, into the largest sari-sari around, selling fresh meat and vegetables. Angeline negotiates credit payments with customers and builds a system of trust and reciprocity with clients.
Now sari-sari operators like Angeline have a new opportunity. Grameen Foundation and its partners are empowering sari-sari store operators to serve as digital financial service agents to their customers. They can help their customers send payments, transfer money to loved ones, deposit money into a digital account, and more – all through their mobile phones.
With more than 500,000 registered sari-sari stores across the country’s 7,107 islands, the program extends financial inclusion in low-income, rural areas. Not only will local people be able to procure small loans from organizations like ASHI, but they also will be able to use their money more effectively, taking control on their financial lives to better their families and communities.
Angeline is continually inspired to do more. She aims to grow her business into a full-blown grocery store within three years. She teaches others to be financially self-sufficient, and is an incredible role model for her daughter — who works at the store for an hour every afternoon, giving Angeline “me time” during her long and busy days.