Girl entrepreneur calls for safer internet

13 October 2020

Following training on her rights from Plan International, Jane, 22, is using her voice to call for an end to online abuse.

Jane, 22, has been earning a living selling products online since 2016. The COVID-19 health crisis has left her as the sole income earner for her family when her father, a handyman, has lost his job when Metro Manila was placed under strict community quarantine measures.

“Since the community quarantine, my father rarely gets clients for minor home repairs since people are also afraid to let non-family members inside their houses,”she says.

At a young age, Jane has learned to maximise the power of social media to help her father put food on
their table and to buy medicines for her mother who has a hearing disability.

Although her business is mostly online, Jane still has to go outside since she handles the deliveries and meet-ups.

“I am also scared of catching the virus and risking my family’s health, but going outside is a necessity for me. It’s a risk I have to take. I just make sure I follow minimum health protocols like wearing masks, and bringing alcohol-based sanitisers and gloves,” she says.

With the “offline world” unsafe, Jane is ardently wishing the online world to be a safe haven. A wish she knows may be hard to achieve given the current landscape of the internet for young woman like her.

With most of her time spent online to manage her business, Jane is not oblivious to the possibility of harassment and abuse looming on the platforms she uses.

“I know that there are instances of harassment and abuse in online platforms but I really need to be online since my business is the only thing that keeps my family afloat during these trying times,”she says.

As a youth innovator from the Youth Collective Action for Resilient and Safer Communities (Youth CARES) Project implemented by Plan International Philippines, Jane has been equipped with basic knowledge in disaster risk reduction and management and has also been oriented on protection issues and her rights as a youth.

Moreover, Jane knows the importance of youth participation in developing and advancing advocacy, so she is now using her voice to advocate for an internet free from abuse, harassment, and bullying.

For Jane, a safe space in the cyberworld would be a great help for young women like her whose livelihood is dependent on being online.

The Youth Collective Action for Resilient and Safer Communities (Youth CARES) Project is implemented by Plan International Philippines. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the project is an urban disaster resilience initiative focusing on strengthening the agency of young people.

Emergencies, Protection from violence, Youth empowerment, Gender-based violence, girls’ leadership