How We Learned to Give in the Philippines

When in Manila, The Philippines, street children walking the avenues of the metro is a normal sight. They enter jeepneys (public transport) and wipe the shoes of the passengers in exchange for Philippine Peso coins, or offer students in the university area help in carrying books and other things around in exchange for bread or soft drinks.

It is easy to think of these children as ignorant and unfamiliar to the finer things that one enjoys in life. After all, they are street dwellers and, with the time they devote to working for few Pesos a day, it is impossible that they would still have the time to go to school.

The Philippines street childrenEducation may be free in the Philippines, but Government support only covers matriculation. Expenses for transportation, school supplies, food, projects and exposure trips are all to be shouldered by the parents. For a poor family of six to survive and earn at most USD 50 per month, each member is forced to work. Even children as early as three are compelled to scavenge for reusable bottles and cans to sell, or food. Boys and girls aged six or seven, already capable of doing harder work, venture into the city and help carry heavy loads (sometimes weighing more than them) in meat and vegetable markets, or in ports. What is worse is that, owing to their tender age, these children are susceptible to being exploited by organized criminals, driving them to beg in the middle of the streets and to put their lives in real danger.

It is, thus, moving in so many ways to see on YouTube a nine year old street boy blessed with intellectual capabilities beyond what anyone may have seen from children of similar age. The boy, Gerald, is able to mentally compute in seconds for the square root of an extensive set of numbers, and is even capable of determining if one is a perfect square or imaginary! With such mathematical prowess, it not difficult to imagine that, given a chance, this boy will end up working with Google, Apple or Microsoft. Sadly, this bright future still looks dim at present….

why lincoln martin existsThe purpose of Lincoln Martin Strategic Marketing (LMSM) agency is to help children like Gerald – Intelligent and logical, but are forced to work, owing to poverty. Through our marketing and advertising services, we are able to bring our clients on board to support our cause. Our advocacy revolves around helping under-privileged but well deserving school children by extending them financial assistance on a monthly basis. We influence our customers to join our movement; we inspire our clients and let them feel first-hand how we are donating school supplies, helping rehabilitate classrooms and, eventually, building schools in remote areas. We provide assistance to livelihood projects in developing countries, which will create jobs and income-generating opportunities to below-poverty areas. We teach people how to create products that can be sold by thousands and that can become corporate gift items to be sold to our clients around the world.

Every year, LMSM hosts gift-giving activities in the Philippines, India and Africa. Thanks to our unique business model, we are empowered to help various economically nascent communities in these countries. In fact, we have adopted two educational institutions in the Philippines, and have sponsored school children. As our agency grows, we expect that the reach of our projects will widen as well, impacting as many as 1,200 children in the Philippines.

As founders of LMSM, my wife and I are driven by our personal social responsibility. We believe that education can lift an entire family out of poverty. We imagine that one child who graduates and finds a decent job can pull his or her whole family towards a better life.

We believe that anyone who has received an act of goodness that has impacted his or her life will naturally pay it forward, because love is inherently contagious! On this premise, we moved forward with our dream: To help fight poverty in developing countries, like the Philippines, by influencing our peers, friends, customers and other social entrepreneurs (#SocEnt) around the world.

LMSM’s CSR mission in the Philippines is just the beginning of a much greater social impact. Sending children like Gerald to school is the first step; providing livelihood to their communities is the second step, and hiring them when they graduate is the final step. It would be fulfilling to see these children eventually learn how to become social entrepreneurs, creating purpose-driven businesses that create jobs and sponsor the education of needy children like they once were.

By 2020, my wife and I are envisioning LMSM, with the help of various stakeholders, building hopes, building lives and building dreams by constructing schools in marginalized areas in the Philippines.

Lincoln Martin is pioneering a “social impact” business model called Client+Agency+NGO Partnership (#CANpartner). Through our partnership with not-for-profit organizations and our customers, we can provide various social entrepreneurship programs (#CANtrepreneurship) that will lead to #CANhood (small village livelihood) and #CANtechy (eco-friendly school projects by students). To learn more on how we give back to the community, write to

Categories:   CSR