GINspiration — Life Lessons

Talks about Mommy Ginger’s life lessons for Baby Zeeka.

5 Strategies for Empowering Persons with Disabilities

In an ideal world, global societies would be inclusive enough that every individual, regardless of their abilities or physical condition, could thrive and contribute in a way that they find personally meaningful. Unfortunately, many countries continue to lag behind in terms of providing accommodation for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and supporting them in their navigation of the attendant physical, neurological, or developmental challenges their conditions pose. Ableist discrimination also remains rampant in many places around the world, leading to the exclusion of PWDs from essential aspects of community life—and, at worst, to physical and psychological violence.

In addition to being a moral obligation, recognizing the potential of persons with disabilities is also a societal necessity that stands to benefit entire communities. Doing so provides the opportunity to unlock a diverse pool of skills and perspectives that would have remained untapped otherwise. By fostering an accommodating and supportive environment, societies can enable disabilities to realize their full potential. 

Let’s examine some key strategies that can empower persons with disabilities by overcoming barriers and creating equal opportunities for all, focusing on the collaborative efforts of both the public and private sectors.

Invest in Inclusive Infrastructure

Building inclusive infrastructure requires organizations to think beyond the abstract concept of accessibility. Organizations must invest in creating tangible solutions that address the difficulties people with special needs face in the real world. These efforts can involve, for instance, designing buildings with ramps and elevators to accommodate those with mobility challenges. Developing apps and websites with user-friendly interfaces that individuals with visual or hearing impairments can navigate with ease is another crucial step.

Private sector investments in digital infrastructure, for instance, illustrate a commitment to achieving this ideal, aiming to guarantee better connectivity across communities and countries. Initiatives like the deployment of common towers and the construction of small cell sites are not just advancements in technology; they are steps toward fostering a digitally inclusive society where information and opportunities are within everyone’s reach. By focusing on improving mobile network service reliability and enhancing connectivity, especially in underserved regions, infrastructure developers are bridging gaps and enabling more people, regardless of their location or condition, to partake in the digital world.

This approach exemplifies a synergy between private sector aspirations and public sector objectives. It demonstrates how collaborations can work in tandem to bring about meaningful change and cultivate an environment where inclusivity is interwoven into the fabric of societal progress.

Provide Opportunities for Education and Training

Developing inclusive education and training initiatives is about more than offering access. It necessitates creating environments and crafting programs that address the multifaceted needs of individuals with disabilities. Such efforts require an understanding of the diverse learning requirements and the readiness to provide the necessary accommodations and support, paving the way for an equitable learning experience.

One way to illustrate this is through schools and educational institutions that implement specialized learning approaches and tools designed to accommodate different learning needs and preferences. For instance, implementing tactile learning materials for visually impaired students or creating individualized learning plans for students with developmental disorders can significantly impact their learning experiences. Supported by such thoughtful, inclusive approaches to education, students with disabilities will be empowered to apply themselves to their education and thereby reach their full potential.

Persons with disabilities also benefit from ongoing training and skill development programs, which offer continuous learning opportunities. These initiatives equip PWDs with the skills and knowledge they need to navigate their professional lives as these continually evolve over the long-term. Such programs also signify the collaborative spirit between educational bodies, governmental organizations, and private entities. The collective efforts of such organizations can help ensure that learning and development are not one-size-fits-all but are tailored to meet diverse needs.

Open Up Access to Employment and Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Providing PWDs with jobs or entrepreneurship opportunities needs to go beyond fulfilling legal quotas or corporate social responsibility. Organizations must seek to create real opportunities that acknowledge the potential and skills of persons with disabilities and allow them to contribute meaningfully to the workforce. This involves recognizing and valuing the diverse skills and experiences they bring and creating accommodating work environments where they can thrive. Ergonomic workspaces for employees with physical disabilities and accessibility tools and software for those with visual or hearing impairments are just a few accommodations employers can make for the benefit of their PWD employees.

Supporting entrepreneurship for persons with disabilities also involves offering tailored mentorship programs and ensuring accessibility to financial resources and business development services. By doing so, it’s possible to foster a more inclusive economic landscape where individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to innovate, contribute, and lead.

Create More Government Policies in Support of PWDs

Governments that aim to build more inclusive societies should focus on implementing policies that address the specific needs and challenges that persons with disabilities face. These include, but are not limited to, providing equitable access to public services such as transportation and healthcare. Governments might also create and enforce strict building codes requiring accessibility features in public spaces. 

The development of such policies requires ongoing dialogue and collaboration between government agencies, advocacy groups, and persons with disabilities themselves. This is the only way to formulate and refine policies that are truly responsive to the needs of the disabled community. Furthermore, continuous interaction and partnership can help governments adapt their policies in response to emerging needs and changing circumstances, ensuring the continual relevance and effectiveness of these policies over time.

Work to End Ableist Discrimination

Eradicating ableist discrimination requires those in power to do more than spread awareness or promote mere tolerance. Organizations must take definitive action to dismantle barriers and prejudices against persons with disabilities. This involves educating the public about the rights and abilities of persons with disabilities and addressing and correcting stereotypes and misconceptions.

For instance, conducting sensitivity training in schools and workplaces and running public awareness campaigns can play significant roles in changing perceptions and attitudes toward disability. Addressing ableism proactively and systematically is crucial to fostering a society where persons with disabilities are recognized for their capabilities and are not defined by their conditions.

Creating an inclusive society where everyone, including persons with disabilities, can thrive necessitates more than just goodwill; it requires sustained, collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors to dismantle barriers and foster equality and respect. By adopting and implementing the strategies discussed, it becomes possible to realize a society where inclusivity and accessibility are ingrained in its fabric, allowing every individual to realize their full potential and contribute meaningfully to the community and the nation.

One Word for 2023

It’s that time of the year when I think of my word for the year — the one word to rule them all (well, at least how I live my life for 2023). After thinking about it for a few days last December, I finally chose my word. The word that I chose was DETERMINED.

I am determined.

I am determined to reach my financial goals this year. Last year, we started the year with the entire family having COVID. This really derailed me from the financial plans that we had. It was quite a rocky start to the year, but that didn’t stop me. Although I was 30% short of my financial targets, it’s fine. I still got to at least save and invest last year.

I am determined to help Zeeka enjoy learning via homeschooling. Last year, we also decided that we’ll definitely homeschool Zeeka for 4th grade. We finished two quarters already, and so far, it has been fun. Daddy EJ teaches Math, Science, CF, Digital Literacy and I teach Language, Reading, Filipino, Social Studies and Art. We’ve all been enjoying it!

I am determined to help our employees become more skilled and fulfilled. This year, I think my theme for work is to help the members of our team grow — in skills, knowledge, confidence, experience, maturity, etc. I’ve been reading this book No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention and it has made me realize that you have to trust your people fully, so that they can shine.

I am determined to be a loving wife. We’ve been married for 13 years, and a lot of things have changed. With 2 kids now, we hardly have time for ourselves. But, this year, I am looking forward to more alone time with the hubby — more date nights!

So that’s it…

If you want to read my past articles on One Word, here you go:

One Word for 2022

One Word for 2021

One Word for 2020

One Word for 2019

One Word for 2018

One Word for 2017

One Word for 2016

One Word for 2015

One Word for 2014 (didn’t get to choose one)

One Word for 2013

What’s your one word for 2023? I’d love to read about it, too!

One Word for 2022

I’m finally posting my one word for 2022 article! I usually post my one word article on the first week of January, but this year made it seem impossible to be productive during this first week. I’ve been reading a lot of posts of family, friends and random people sharing that either they have COVID or people that they know have COVID. In our case, our house helper went on vacation and was supposed to come back this second week of January. During her quarantine period though (we asked her to isolate herself first in a different place), she found out she had COVID.

Zeeka also had fever last Friday, which led us to think if she may have contacted the virus during one of our get – togethers with family. She’s better today so we’re 80% sure that it’s probably not COVID. Although, we will still have her tested this Wednesday (that’s the earliest schedule we could get) for us to know if we still need to continue isolating her and daddy from me and the baby.

So about my one word for 2022, I was thinking long and hard of what that word may be for this year. This first week of January might have inspired me to choose this word.

My one word for 2022 is tenacity.

To tell you honestly, I really felt like a slacker in 2021. 2020 was all go-go-go and rah-rah-rah for me. Last year was a bit of a challenge.

Yes, I could blame the fact that for the first quarter of last year, I was so nauseous because of the pregnancy that I could hardly do anything. I could also blame the fact that during the last trimester, I was having a hard time moving because of the weight. BUT, I now that I could have done better. I know that I was excusing myself from achieving things because I was pregnant. My husband would definitely argue though and say that “making a human inside my belly” is a great thing! 🙂

But this 2022 though, I am bent on making things happen. Tenacity is the quality of being very determined and I am that now. It’s also the fact of continuing to exist. I really want to make my presence felt this year though the work that I do.

I am so excited for the things that I have planned for 2022 for my work in Taxumo, for my relationship with my kids and husband, for Manila Workshops and for my career as a content creator.

I know that 2022 will be a great year even if we had a rocky start!

How about you? What is your one word for 2022?

Check out my past one words… (I started writing my one word yearly since 2015)

What I Learned about Finances, Tax Planning and Myself

All about tracking, tax planning, effort and perseverance!

I am so motivated to fix my finances this 2021. I’ve learned so much from diligently tracking both my personal and business income and expenses. So for today, I’d love to share with you what I have learned and hopefully, these learnings can help you, too.

You can’t do away with LEARNING Finance Topics if you want to be Financially Independent

I have friends who turn a blind eye and a deaf ear when you start talking about finances, investment, taxes, accounting, etc. To be honest with you, years ago, I was like that, too. And when I was young, I abhorred Math. I never really understood why we were studying it.

I started enjoying finances when I worked for a bank, and I love it even more now that I’m running a startup. I started seeing why we need to learn how to compute (even just for the basic stuff) and why we need to “read and understand” numbers. The thing about these topics is that you can’t really do away with these if you plan to be financially independent later on.

Last 2020, I tried to learn as much as I can about all of these, and I got to learn more on how “money” can work for you. One of the things that I learned is that you need to look at each Peso or Dollar as something or someone who works for you. Is their task to pay a bill or pay for a particular expense, or is their task to grow themselves?

For most of us, it may take a while before you can send some of your funds to grow themselves. Most of your money will really be spent on paying bills, etc. but take your time and enjoy the process. That’s another thing that I learned.

Know what your Constraints are

I learned to make more informed decisions last year, and this stemmed from the fact that I learned to know and realize what my constraints are. I know myself really well and one of my personal challenges is saying NO to things that don’t really matter. The PROs of this weakness is that there are a lot of opportunities that come to me and I get to widen my circle, but the CONs are I have less time for myself and less time for the things that really should matter.

So last year, I made a conscious decision to prioritize. The pandemic really slowed down Manila Workshops’ business, but what I realized is that handling Manila Workshops, Taxumo and Blogging / Vlogging really is a lot to handle. Although the purpose of Manila Workshops is great, I realized that I can also fulfill that purpose when I do the other things on my plate (like grow our startup and enjoy vlogging and blogging).

As for blogging, vlogging and streaming, I plan to work on understanding and learning more this year. People also think that Blogging and Vlogging is easy. You just create content and people will come. Well, that’s not the case really. You need to treat it like a business, so you will need a little bit of capital and lots of effort and learning. Nowadays, the learning curve for being a content creator is steep IF you really want to earn from it. It’s easy to learn tools that simplify content creation, but there are a lot of things to learn if you plan to earn from it.

This year, I am also officially announcing that I will keep the Manila Workshops brand, but we will be keeping it as a community instead. I won’t be monetizing it again yet. I’ll still look at a more scalable business model. Oh, that’s another thing, too. Growing Taxumo has made me realize a lot of things about how I handled Manila Workshops, which was actually pretty cool. I think I have grown more when it came to handling a business.

Learn how to Track literally EVERYTHING and do Tax Planning

People, I have realized that the first step to financial success is really knowing where you stand. You need to know your numbers — your personal income and expenses, your household income and expenses and your business revenue and expenses. Making decisions base on gut feeling (at least for me) isn’t the way to go.

Hard decisions are “hard” to make (like getting married, shifting careers, starting a business, etc.) because you obviously haven’t been to the FUTURE. Any path you take will be hard, unless you intentionally decide to take a one year break from making any life decisions, and just “Eat. Pray. Love.” your way through life that one year. In any case, you need money to sustain you that whole year.

So if you want to get on track to fixing your finances, start the habit of tracking it. You will realize that this simple habit will help you discover things that you haven’t discovered before about yourself, your spending, your behaviours, etc.

This is how I track my personal finances

For business, it’s really the same thing. I remember having this conversation with Nicole Alba, a young finance vlogger, and I mentioned that in order for people to run sustainable businesses and freelancing careers, they also need to know how to handle their personal finances.

For my business, I use Taxumo to track both my revenue and expenses.

It super easy and not at all complicated to learn how to use the system. Taxumo has FREE onboarding sessions here just in case you want to learn how to use it: http://txmo.co/onboarding.

What I have learned also by consistently tracking my business revenue and expenses, I can do tax planning. I can easily identify how much I should set aside for taxes early on. I have all of my information in Taxumo, so it makes it easier for me to know the amount of taxes that I need to pay. I also get a feel of what I have spent on significantly on the previous month.

As a self-employed individual, tax planning for me begins with just tracking really. How can you plan if you have no idea on where your funds are going or how much are you earning.

As for the tax rate that you can choose at the start of every year, before your first filing for the year, Taxumo has this notification bell that recommends what tax rate is best for you based on your cashflow entries.

Tax planning recommendation tool in Taxumo!
Machine learning tax planning tool of Taxumo
Sample of what is seen in the recommendations tab

You can check this out after inputting cash flow entries.

I have so many things going on in my life right now, but what I can say really is that I know where I am heading this 2021. It’s clear to me where I want to go and I am happy with the things that are happening to me and my loved ones.

I wish you all the same feeling. I wish that you find enough motivation and will power. I wish you find clarity. I hope that the path to being financially free will be clearer and I hope that you find your life’s purpose.

Cheers to a great 2021!

One Word for 2021: RESET

One word for 2021

What’s your one word for 2021? I’ve been choosing one word for the past several years. For 2020, I chose the word COMMIT. I think I did a good job of sticking to my commitments. I successfully committed to creating more Youtube videos. For 2020, I have created and published more than 70 videos with the intent of helping people learn something new everyday.

As for my health and physical fitness, for most of the year, I have stuck to “mostly” a plant based diet. I occasionally ate fish towards the end of the year and let go a little bit this December and ate meat. But as for exercise, I have continuously moved and exercised even while at home.

For my one word for 2021, I intentionally chose RESET. I chose this word because I want to learn and do a lot of new things this year. I learned a lot of things last year, and I enjoyed it. From 2013 to early 2020, I focused on helping other people learn. Since I needed to make learning events for my business, learning became too mechanical. And maybe, joy was even stripped off a little bit from it (for me). This 2020 though, I had so much fun again focusing on my own personal growth and learning.

For Manila Workshops, I decided to stop creating learning public learning events already. I think I will stick with it being a community where people can share their events and learn from one another. 2021 will be a year of new learnings for a lot of people, and I’m hopeful and positive that this will be a good year for all of us.

To start the year right, I started planning for the year. Some of you may say that it may be useless to do this since a lot of our plans really didn’t pan out last 2020, but personally, planning and goal setting gives me a sense of control (over at least some stuff that I can control).

I asked a lot of people to answer a survey recently and I love all the plans that they shared. In the survey, I found out that most of the people (got around 28 people o respond) who answered the survey had these things are their priorities: 1) Go for additional sources of income or grow income; 2) Better themselves (become healthier or learn a new skill) and 3) Want to travel or relocate.

If you are curious to what my plans are, well, they’re really simple goals. They are very aligned with my one word for 2021.

Extra Sources of Income while Having Fun and Learning

This busy bee here, apart from handling Taxumo, plans to just focus on content creation as an extra source of income. In 2020, I think I have done a good job of creating fun, engaging, and educational content for my viewers. I continuously want to improve, so please do let me know if there are topics you want to discuss. Feel free to engage with me on IG, Youtube, Twitter, TikTok and Twitch.

I also discovered how fun it is to stream games. A balance of work and play is really necessary! So you will definitely see a lot of Mommy Ginger in the world of streaming this 2021. Please do follow me on TWITCH: https://www.twitch.tv/gingerarboleda

Increase Savings and Investment Rate

An additional financial goal that I have is to increase my savings rate. Here is a short clip on what savings rate is.

To help others find accountability partners for their savings and investment goals, #TeamArbo has started a 52 week Saving Challenge on Mommy Ginger’s Facebook page. It’s not too late to join! When you follow the Facebook Page, every week (Fridays), it will notify you to add to your savings. Once done, just comment “DONE” on the post reminder. Check out the mechanics here: https://fb.watch/2MOo6KLMYe/

Declutter

Another thing that I plan to do this year is to fix and declutter our home. We have limited space so we really need to think long and hard before adding additional stuff. I really want to take a step closer towards becoming a minimalist this year. I just think that there are a lot of “wasted” things around us — things that we don’t really appreciate as much that can be the source of delight for other people. Let’s see if this year can take me a step closer into becoming a minimalist.

Learning

As for learning, these are the topics that I want to learn more of this year: streaming, optimizing time, content creation, setting up / building my own pc and more of the usual things I love learning about (marketing, branding, investing and productivity).

I turned on my Skillshare account again for the entire year. Skillshare is a platform where you can learn about these topics that I mentioned above. A lot of the people I look up to are on Skillshare. If you haven’t signed up to Skillshare yet, you can do so by visiting this link: skillshare-ambassador.pxf.io/ginger This link gives you 14 days FREE trial so you can sign up now.

That’s it! Most of my goals are really simple since this year will be about resetting and learning new things.

What about you? What is your one word for 2021? What are your own goals? Hope you can share it with us!