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WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS: BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES A TRADE FAIR IN CELEBRATION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

MARCH 7 TO 10, UPPER GROUND FLOOR, SM AURA PREMIER

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Women play a vital role in society. In the Philippines, where women comprise half of the country’s population, promoting increased access to health, education and income opportunities for women is essential for progress and prosperity.

SM Cares, a Division of SM Foundation and the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., recognizes the important role of women and is dedicated to championing women’s issues, including their maternal health rights. Its program on Women and Breastfeeding has initiatives that make women all over the country aspire for economic independence through exhibits and seminars. It has also served as an inspiration for the rights of mothers to breastfeed in any place in the mall. With their critical role in life, women have their unique needs that be recognized. SM not only addresses these needs but also highlights women’s significant role in the family and in society through its various programs, which recognize and celebrate their uniqueness and individuality.

18Ms. Teresita Sy-Coson, Vice Chairperson of SM Investments Corp. (middle), is joined by Australian Embassy Officials led by Daniel Featherstone, Counsellor-Economic (L) and Ming Toh, First Secretary-Economic (3rd from left).

The Australian Embassy is committed to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the Philippines. Its longstanding aid program supports women’s access to decision-making, leadership and peace building; promotes women’s economic empowerment; and ending violence against women and girls.

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day and National Women’s Month, SM Cares and the Australian Embassy have partnered to celebrate women micro-entrepreneurs – mothers, daughters, sisters, making a real difference in improving the lives of their families and their communities.

The Australian Embassy is investing in women-led micro, small and medium enterprises across the Philippines to promote greater participation in the country’s economic and social development. SM Cares is leveraging the global retail and mall expertise of the SM Group to provide women entrepreneurs with a premium platform to showcase their creativity, resourcefulness and business acumen.

Supported by the Australian Government’s aid program, these organizations include:

  1. (1) Antique Development Foundation (ADF), (2) Caritas Manila, (3), Gifts and Graces (G&G) Fair Trade Foundation Incorporated, together with, (4) Green Earth Heritage Foundation Philippines, and, (5) Handicraft of Aklan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (HAMPCO); (6) Katungodhan Samareña Foundation, Incorporated (KSFi), (7) Lake Sebu Indigenous Women Weavers Association Incorporated (LASIWWAI), (8) Philippine Christian Foundation, (9) Philippine Foundation for Resources Management (PFRM), as well as, (10) Simbagsa Pag-asenso Incorporated (SEDP), and (11) Southern Partners and Trade Fair Center Incorporated (SPFTTCI) to name a few.21206

There is no better partnership than the Australian Embassy and SM Cares as they share a similar vision. SM Cares has programs that advocate women empowerment and breastfeeding support under their Program on Women and Breastfeeding Mothers. It recognizes the role of women in our society and extends its program to a wider scope by including Persons with Disabilities, Children and Youth, Senior Citizens, Overseas Filipino Workers and Environment and Sustainability.

22Annie S. Garcia, President of SM Supermalls (L) and HE Amanda Gorely, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines (3rd from L) were presented with tokens of appreciation from the women entrepreneurs. 

Presented by SM Cares and the Australian Embassy, the trade fair showcases what women micro-entrepreneurs can achieve for themselves and for others when given the right support. More importantly, the partnership affirms that when we invest in women, we build stronger communities.

Celebrate the craftsmanship and creativity of these women entrepreneurs. Every purchase is an investment in building communities. Be part of it.

SM’s Pamaskong Handog for Senior Citizens

SM Supermalls, through its corporate responsibility social arm SM Cares, treated more than 800 senior citizens to a Christmas celebration entitled “Pamaskong Handog for Senior Citizens”, an event which is geared at giving our dear elders some thrills and enjoyment to celebrate the Yuletide season.

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The occasion attended by more than 800 senior citizens from all over Quezon City and nearby cities, gathered at the Skydome of SM City North EDSA which featured a dance showdown, games, raffles prizes, giveaways, concert performances among others.

Danny Chavez, Program Director for SM Cares Committee on Senior Citizens said the Pamaskong Handog program has been a yearly tradition in all SM malls. “Christmas is always a time for celebration with family and friends and all those dear to us. And we have always considered our senior citizens an important member of the SM family which is why we have this affair every year for them,” Chavez said.

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During the event, performances by the Jackstone Brothers, Inger Sta. Maria, the Tom Jones of the Philippines and Edwin Opina, the Elvis Presley of the Philippines, among others brought the crowd to its feet.

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Senior citizens also proved they still have their performing arts prowess when they went on stage to show their outstanding dancing and modeling talents. The day capped off with a dance party where seniors danced to their heart’s content.

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Chavez said more projects are lined up for senior citizens in the coming years. “More are coming for our beloved senior citizens. Aside from the existing Eldepreneurship program, the Employment for Senior Citizens, the Oldies but Techies and the Elderly Filipino Week event, we have lined up more programs for our elderly because we believe that they not only deserve our love and respect but they could still be productive members our society,” Chavez stressed.

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In SM, truly there is life after 60.

Unprecedented Attendance, Possible World Record in 2015 Angels Walk

Angels Walk, the yearly celebration for autism awareness spearheaded by the Autism Society of the Philippines (ASP) in partnership with SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, held the 9th Angels Walk on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, attendance again reached an unprecedented level – more than 12,000 people attended the event._MG_1481_resize12,000 people with autism and their families attended this year’s ASP’s Angels Walk, their yearly get-together which is aimed at not only raising awareness on autism but advocating for disability inclusion in society.

Last Sunday, January 25, 2015, in the 9th Angels Walk held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, attendance again reached an unprecedented level – more than 12,000 people attended the event.

ASP President Mona Veluz said aside from the unprecedented number of people who attended the celebration, her group is vying for a world record – the biggest gathering of people wearing wings. Participants came in wearing wings in this year’s event.

Veluz said more 12,000 people with autism and their families attended this year’s ASP’s Angels Walk, their yearly get-together which is aimed at not only raising awareness on autism but advocating for disability inclusion in society.

The participants marched around the MOA complex and were treated to a show featuring children with autism. Hans Sy, President of SM Prime Holdings Inc., and Veluz led the walk.

Veluz said the Angels Walk has come a long way since they started in 2007 with only a few hundred attendees in Roxas Boulevard in Manila. “When we started, we only had a few hundred walkers. Last year, during ASP’s 25th year anniversary, we filled up MOA Arena to the rafters. This year, we have around 12,000 in attendance and we hope to set the world record for the largest group of winged angels,” she said.

The Angels Walk has been conducted in partnership with SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, since 2009.  Dang Koe, Chair Emeritus of ASP, said they are extremely thankful to SM for their warm accommodation to their cause. “We could not thank SM and SM Cares enough because through the years, they never get tired to be our partner and have accommodated us all these years including holding Angels Walk in other cities,” Koe said.

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ASP President Mona Veluz said aside from the unprecedented number of people who attended the celebration, her group is vying for a world record – the biggest gathering of people wearing wings. Participants came in wearing wings in this year’s event.

Veluz said more than 12,000 people with autism and their families attended this year’s ASP’s Angels Walk, their yearly get-together which is aimed at not only raising awareness on autism but advocating for disability inclusion in society.

The participants marched around the MOA complex and were treated to a show featuring children with autism. Hans Sy, President of SM Prime Holdings Inc., and Veluz led the walk.

Veluz said the Angels Walk has come a long way since they started in 2007 with only a few hundred attendees in Roxas Boulevard in Manila. “When we started, we only had a few hundred walkers. Last year, during ASP’s 25th year anniversary, we filled up MOA Arena to the rafters. This year, we have around 12,000 in attendance and we hope to set the world record for the largest group of winged angels,” she said.

The Angels Walk has been conducted in partnership with SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, since 2009.  Dang Koe, Chair Emeritus of ASP, said they are extremely thankful to SM for their warm accommodation to their cause. “We could not thank SM and SM Cares enough because through the years, they never get tired to be our partner and have accommodated us all these years including holding Angels Walk in other cities,” Koe said.

Veluz this year’s gathering could easily beat the world record for most number of people with wings which stands at only 1,200. She said more than half of this year’s participants wore wings during the program and the parade. “We are vying for a world record and I think we already beat the record of only 1,200 because of the overwhelming attendance. Our contingent from Cavite already beat that number and we have 25 chapters in attendance today,” she said.

She said their 25 chapters nationwide from Luzon and the Visayas have worked on making their wings for several months to vie for the world record. Their chapters were encouraged to make the wings by offering them with P25,000 cash prize for bringing the most number of delegates with wings., Veluz noted.

Cavite won the contest.

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Bien Mateo, SM’s Vice President for Operations and Head of the SM Disability Program, said SM is honored share the same advocacy with ASP and be the host to another family-centric affair. “We continue with our commitment to make sure we are a mall for all, all family members, with or without disability,” Mateo said.

Koe stressed that SM and it many malls and stores have become the most autism friendly establishment. “We can say that SM is the most autism friendly center in all of the Philippines and we all feel very welcome in their establishments,” Koe declared.

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ASP also unveiled it’s a-OK Philippines campaign – a multi-sectoral movement which is aimed at building an autism-inclusive society. Veluz said the movement aims to inspire more autism-friendly establishments, compassionate workplaces, job transition specialists and coaches, freelancers on the spectrum and livelihood opportunities for persons with autism. “For the welfare of a maturing population of Filipinos with on the spectrum, care for persons with AUTISM must transition from the confines of the home and school to universities, businesses and workplaces,” Veluz said.

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