November 20, 2013
Contact: University Relations
Christine Nielsen, professor of international business and strategy in the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business, is currently traveling in the Philippines, less than two weeks after Typhoon Haiyan devastated many parts of the island nation, leaving thousands dead, scores missing, and dozens of cities, towns and villages in ruins.
Read The Baltimore Sun's coverage of Nielsen's trip, including a video interview with her.
Nielsen's interest in the aftermath of the storm is driven by her work in seven remote communities on two islands there—Negros and Samar—where she is guiding dozens of groups of women through a Living to Livelihood entrepreneurial process, enabling them to start their own businesses through an organization called NEW Pathways to Enterprise. This approach supports women's livelihood efforts through a range of sustainable start-ups, including weaving and crocheting, food and fish processing, hog farming, and a creative arts program for aspiring artists in rural communities where opportunties to express themselves through art are few and far between.
"Both islands were hit by the storm—Samar at its epicenter—and families in our programs have lost their crops or sustained livestock damage; in addition to those who have experienced deeper, more personal loss," Nielsen said.
Nielsen's trip, planned well in advance of the storm, is focused on initiating skills training in one community, celebrate the early successes of creative arts and rug-weaving entrepreneurs in three others, and speaking at two graduation ceremonies for more than 50 women who have completed their livelihood training and are now moving on to start their businesses. All of these activities are taking place on Negros Island.
One of her local partners on the island described "huge damage" to crops and coconut trees there. Another, living on Samar, said that most families have no electricity and their water supply is contaminated. Stores and banks are closed. The death toll is mounting and homes are destroyed.
"Despite the enormity of the catastrophe, I am hopeful. Philippine women and their families have endured incredible hardships in the past, and these women are among the most courageous and resilient of all. They will not give up, but they do need our help now," Nielsen said. "What I've learned through our work in NEW Pathways is that what we do has a multiplier effect within remote communities; especially now, any assistance we can give will have enormous positive impact. This is one way that we as Americans can reach out to the people of the Philippines—by supporting these women and their families who are becoming independent through sustainable livelihoods, but who now must stand up to a natural disaster of unimaginable proportions."
Your donation to NEW Pathways will go to restoring the livelihoods of women and their families in the areas directly affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
Learn more about Prof. Nielsen.
Also, the University of Baltimore's Diversity and Culture Center, AIGA UB, the Latin American Student Association, and several other UB student groups will host a Philippines Fundraiser Karaoke Event on Tuesday, Dec. 3 from noon to 4 p.m. in the Student Center lobby.
UB students, faculty and staff are invited to this event; a $5 donation provides admission. All proceeds will go to the U.S. Philippines Society, which will use the funds for relief kits for those affected by the disaster. Drop-off donations also are being accepted at the Diversity and Culture Center, located in Room 002 of the Student Center. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.