I AM WRITING this while sipping a cup of hot lemonade to ease my still coarse, and sometimes hoarse, throat at Coko Cafe at the Ateneo de Naga University. Beside me, my son Budi is feasting on his spaghetti and mango juice: perks for tagging along as his sisters are taking their dancing lessons upstairs.
We are at the ground floor of the Madrigal Center for Social Entrepreneurship (MCSE), built by the Consuelo "Chito" Madrigal Foundation for the university. Coko Cafe is one of MCSE's facilities, "perfect for meetings over a cup of delicious coffee, for delightful breakfasts, invigorating snacks, power lunches and cozy dinners, for busy people longing for a relaxing ambience." A few tables away, Ateneo de Naga president Joel Tabora, S.J. is engaged in deep conversation with a young man, in all probability an Ateneo student seeking his guidance.
According to its brochure, the MCSE "aims to create, through innovative approaches, a vibrant community of entrepreneurs who will advance social transformation." Its poverty alleviation programs for Bikol includes microfinance, housing, social entrepreneurship, and graduate and undergraduate scholarships for entrepreneurships. They are certainly most apt for Luzon's poorest region, as my recent series that started with this entry documents.
The brochure has this quote from David Bornstein, author of The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank, which chronicles the worldwide growth of that "microcredit " anti-poverty strategy and whose founder, Muhammad Yunus, just recently won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize:
What Business Entrepreneurs are to the economy, Social Entrepreneurs are to social change. They are driven, creative individuals who question the status quo, exploit new opportunities, refuse to give up, and remake the world for the better.The other day, I pleasantly discovered Coko Cafe's free wi-fi services through Julma Narvadez, one of MCSE's young managers. Julma, one of Ateneo and the city's best students during her time, is the daughter of the late Jose Narvadez who brought me under his wings as Vox Bikol publisher straight out of college decades ago. Now, the dance workshop upstairs is a brainchild of hers, taking my two daughters under its wing.:)