Philippine NGO SolvePoverty.com is dedicated to connecting Filipino youth here and abroad through music by providing resources to young musicians and their communities.
The EPIC Street Choir: Happily laughing children creating a joyful racket as they sing in their choir isn’t the image most might imagine when thinking of an urban slum in Manila, Philippines. But that’s what’s happening with the EPIC Street Choir who launched their first Philippines tour in June 2011.
Background: Over a decade ago a small group of social entrepreneurs began exploring ways to help Solve Poverty in a different way. They had a dream to create sustainable and new ways that disadvantaged youth and families across Asia could make a living. Since then we have helped fund or provide start-up capital for more than 20 ventures. The latest projects from SolvePoverty.com are the EPIC Choir - music of the streets and EPIC Street Magazine.
Whilst the dream is still evolving it has been successfully realized in the projects we have been involved in. SolvePoverty.com has touched the lives of 1000’s of youth across the region and we encouraged our new projects will further extend our message of hope and inspiration.The first rehearsal of the EPIC Choir was the 5th May 2011. Leading singing teacher Maricel Romero and her tutors who lead the rehearsals. Maricel and her team had been inspired by a street choir for homeless people in Australia called The Choir of Hard Knocks.
Maricel approached her local community group that organises youth activities in one of the very disadvantaged areas of Manila and they agreed to support the EPIC choir including assistance with the recruiting process. Next steps were flyers on the streets, meeting with other social groups, parents and of course the Choir themselves. She wasn’t sure how many students would turn up at the 1st practice but it was in fact over 40 on day one. Since their first rehearsal, the choir are now turning into a polished singing troupe ready to reach out to the Philippines.
Maricel said: “Filipinos are by nature blessed with a wonderful capability for song. We have visited dozens of communities across Asia and continue to be amazed at the raw wealth of talent that spans all cultural divides. Our team have become closely involved with the music and people of each community we have visited. Although most of these communities have extremely limited resources, suffer from extreme poverty, limited or no medical care, basic educational facilities, a number of infectious diseases and below UN standards of living, the people that made them are full of warmth, friendship, generosity, and most importantly they are connected to each other by a common theme: Music.
The Choir’s Mission: Our mission with the new EPIC Street Choir is to enable anyone with a desire to sing the opportunity to do so. We are dedicated to the fundamental principle that tolerance, peace and change are able to be achieved via the universal language of music.We strive to create positive social change through education, employment, media, music and health awareness.
By providing Filipino youth with a safe place to learn, sing and express themselves, we believe this helps to provide an alternative to the enormous challenges many youth face daily. The children perform in churches and schools around Manila national capital region. Any donations or sponsorships go directly to support the families of the choir and the communities they come from.
The EPIC Street Magazine: Based on other successful street magazine models running internationally we have now launched the The EPIC Stories of Hope Magazine.
Our publishing model is based on the need to to deliver an independent, self-sustainable and newsworthy social business solution to disadvantaged people living in the Philippines. When our vendors sell the The EPIC Magazine, which is published once per month, they have the opportunity to earn a regular salary, care and support their families and be recognised as an active member in their communities.
Our authorized vendors buy copies of the Epic Magazine for 25 Pesos and sell it on the streets for 50 pesos. They keep half the magazine costs ie 50%. (50 Pesos = approx USD $1.00)This model has been proven to show that it is estimated savings to society can be very significant because we are creating a reduction in poverty, increased ability for street vendors to support their families and at the same time providing a unique and interesting newspaper that caters to the Philippines.
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Youth Social Enterprise Initiative (YSEI) is pleased to announce its Asia 2009 Start-up Stage fellows who will receive USD75,000 start-up funding. More details..
The five young social entrepreneurs who have been selected from the YSEI Asia 2009 programme have showed great commitment towards realising their business idea. In addition, Cyril Devan from Malaysia, Stephanie Caragos and Khristine Lopez, both from the Philippines, Ajay Shakya from India, and Thailand’s Patipat Susumpow have successfully demonstrated competence in building viable social enterprises through their participation in YSEI which is a GKP Global Partnership Programme.