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Drawing from her own experiences, Shantal Dimayuga wishes to help others escape poverty through her foundation Yakap Foundation.




It's innate for people to help others the best way they can. This is also true with Rossel “Shantal” Dimayuga, a thirty-two-year-old businesswoman taking the reins as chief executive officer and president of multiple business ventures. Her story is one of a modest lass in the province who pushed her way to the top through hard work and resilience. Her goal to help the underprivileged reflects on Yakap Kalinga, a foundation she started herself, which reaches out to the needy in the rural areas, even during the pandemic.

The early years

Dimayuga grew up in a low-income household in the province of Batangas with just enough to get by. Guided by her strict father and hard-working mother, she developed into a woman who values discipline and hard work.

With her humble background, Dimayuga knew that she needed to do more to achieve the financial freedom she wanted to have in her life. After college, she landed a job at the Manila Ocean Park, an achievement on its own as not everyone in the province is privileged to work in Manila. On the side, she started her first business to augment her monthly salary. She sold cellphones online via Facebook. Her experiences helped expand her business and taught her lessons that became instrumental to her success as a businesswoman and as a philanthropist later on.

The fruits of labor

Dimayuga realized that not everything is rosy when it comes to creating and operating your own business. Her laundromat business didn’t turn out the way she expected it to. However, this did not stop her from going on other business “adventures,” turning her fair share of failures into life lessons.

Just like her mother who doesn’t shy away from hard work, she was able to turn things around. Her discipline and resilience shone through and helped her achieve the financial freedom she dreamed of as a young girl. She’s now a proud owner of multiple businesses such as manpower and security agency; trading company; and textile and garments manufacturing company, just to name a few.

She recently received recognition from the ASEAN Excellence Achievers Awards for being an “outstanding woman of vision and inspiring business leader of the year.” That she achieved all of these at the age of 32 is a source of motivation especially for women and young individuals that anyone can do it with the right attitude.

Advocacy to help others

Helping others has been one of Dimayuga’s goals in life. She strives not only to provide resources to the underprivileged but also to impart her business knowledge to others.

With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting people either physically or financially, she has observed that some of them would not have suffered much if they had a business of their own. Relying on financial assistance and jobs with uncertain tenure can put people in a quite unstable position during a pandemic and affect their ability to provide for their basic necessities.

Understanding these conditions, her aim is to improve Filipinos’ knowledge of business and educate them on the importance of small- and medium-scale enterprises. Through this, people will have an opportunity to start on their own even with their limited financial capacity and eventually worry less about finances especially during trying times.

Aside from this, her experience living a modest lifestyle has led to her advocacy for the poor. She knows how it is to have just enough to live by. From there, she started a foundation called Yakap Kalinga to further support her goal to lend a helping hand to others.

The start of Yakap Kalinga

From its name, which means “embrace” and “support” or “refuge” in Filipino, Yakap Kalinga sounds like a place of giving and understanding. Founded in 2019, it aims to support underprivileged children by providing materials needed for their schooling. It also aims to provide food for the less fortunate, and to connect to as many people in the rural areas as possible to help them deal with poverty.

Even as the foundation is yet to be registered and officially established—with this year as target—the people behind it have launched a number of projects and outreach activities. Restrictions brought about by the pandemic, however, have made their activities more challenging. For now, they are realigning their plans and recalibrating their goals regarding projects to be executed in the coming months.

Embracing changes

Dimayuga mentioned that she wants to reach out to more people through Yakap Kalinga. It may be in its early stages but her initial goal was to feed 300 underprivileged families for every quarter of the year. That’s around 1,200 individuals as the average Filipino family has four members.

In two years’ time, Yakap Kalinga’s goal is to increase the number of beneficiary families to 1000, which is three times more than what they had initially planned. Aside from their feeding program, they are also aiming to help the homeless by building shelters. Yakap Kalinga wants a safe haven for people in need of food and a sturdy roof over their heads. It’s the foundation’s way of helping maintain the dignity of individuals, particularly those who are financially challenged.

 The pandemic may have delayed some of Dimayuga’s and Yakap Kalinga’s plans, but one thing is for sure: driven by a firm desire to achieve their goals, we’ll be seeing more of Yakap Kalinga and Shantal Dimayuga in the future.

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