BAG943 inspires – Buy one, Give one! PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 January 2014 16:24

Today is Pep Talk first issue for the Year of the Wooden Horse, and it took me quite some time to think what would or who would I feature first. And thanks to Zamboanga civic leader Dr. Anton Lim, he gave me a spark whom to write about – the founder of BAG943 – Josh Mahinay.  A Filipino young man of Ipil, Sibugay who left a flourishing career in the USA to help poor school children in the Philippines acquire good quality of school bag for free. Like you and me, a school bag is an important part of our school life. This is Josh's inspirational movement.

Josh left the Philippines in 2007 and worked in the USA. It was in one of his annual vacation in our country that he saw a boy in Mindanao going to school using a plastic bag as a school bag. The scenario changed the direction of his life of living abroad. It brought back his own school experience as he also grew up too carrying a plastic bag going to school since his poor family could not afford to buy him one.

He related this in an article he wrote for Rappler.com “Leaving Los Angeles to pursue greener pastures” (http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/balikbayan/36006-los-angeles-greener-pastures).

Josh shared, “I was in 4th grade when I received my very first decent bag, a gift from a distant relative. It wasn’t new, but it made me see things in a brand new light. It made me feel like someone made an investment in me so it empowered me to do better in school. Because someone believed in me, I started believing in myself. Having a school bag like my classmates gave me the confidence to dream the kind of dreams that they have, or maybe bigger.” And he aims to make every kid proud to go to school with a school bag when he decided to come home more than a year ago.

After 5 years of working in the States and reaping the comforts of living in a first-world country, Josh Mahinay opened a bag business with best friend RJ Garcia in July 2012 and named it BAG934. It is a mission-driven business that incorporates social responsibility by adhering to a “Buy One Give One” promise through a social arm called Bag of Dreams Project. For every BAG943 purchase, another bag is given to an impoverished child from its pool of adopted public schools across the country.

The Bag of Dreams Project distributes bags quarterly with the help of volunteers. On its first year, the company has been able to give over 1,300 bags in 11 public schools already. Last December 2013, it joined the Tzu Chi Foundation Zamboanga One Mega Fair Bazaar and sold BAGS943.

“The pursuit of greener pastures was a journey back home. It helped me rediscover my values and my deepest passion to champion education for the Filipino youth. The Filipino youth is worth believing in. It has happened to me. It can happen to these kids. The greener pasture is not a place you go to. It is a world you cultivate to grow,” he wrote.
(Like BAG943 on Facebook www.facebook.com/BAG943and follow them on Twitter www.twitter.com/BAG943. For your online purchases, visit www.bag943.com or send other inquiries to info@bag943.com or sms to +639228575060. BAG943 is also now available in countries like USA, EUROPE, Singapore, Japan and ships to most countries around the world.)


By Dante Corteza

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. (Proverbs 19:17)