Onyx Lending and Junkshop Association (OLJA) was the former name of the people’s organization of Onyx. Their main goal in the beginning was to establish a lending and junkshop cooperative since that kind of business is common in their community. But upon seeking registration from the Securities and Exchange Commission, they learned that they have to work in partnership with other junkshop groups to develop an organization. Also, this kind of venture requires a large amount of fund. Members knew that those requirements were difficult to meet since the PO was just starting to build up itself. So after a year, they decided to form a PO that focuses more on the empowerment of its members and they named it as Onyx People’s Empowerment Neighboring Association (OPENA).
Of course, apart from cash assistances, trainings and seminars are given regularly on topics such as reproductive health, prevention of common illnesses, treatment and prevention of pulmonary tuberculosis and the like. On year 2013, they started a seminar on preparing cheap but nutritious meal for their children through the help of its members who voluntarily share their knowledge in cooking.
In their early years, the PO struggled to produce enough funds due to lack of livelihood projects. Thus, developing programs and services were quite problematic. But over the time, they managed to venture into selling of biscuits, candle and processed meat. They also conducted several fundraisings like raffle tickets, cakes and cellphones. Through this, OPENA generated enough funds to support its projects like Job Placement Assistance (JPA) and health assistance. Additional funds were also given for crisis intervention and school allowance of some of their PO members.
Currently, OPENA has 63 members and they are still working for the expansion of their membership. They are also developing activities that will respond to the needs of its members. For livelihood related activities, OPENA is planning to have Bigasan Project. The capital to be used for this project will be from the capital share of the members sothat they will have an ownership, a key factor of any people’s organization initiative to make the project sustainable. However, preparatory activities that will enhance their capacity to manage this type of project still need to be conducted. Leaders still need to undergo coaching on financial management, simple accounting and book keeping.
The decreasing number of community leaders is the major problem of OPENA right now. Due to financial constraint, some of their leaders have now decided to work while some cannot attend because of sickness. The participation of their other members is also getting low. In order to resolve this In order to resolve this problem, leaders are now capacitating their other members by giving them coaching on home visitation, facilitation, documentation and other activities so that they will also be equipped with enough knowledge for them to be a great help in the community. Aside from that, they ensure that they conduct a regular home visitation to their members to ensure their active participation. remind them of the upcoming activities and their duties as members.