Perla's peanut recipe helped support her family. Now her story is helping others.

Perla Almaden never forgot her grandmother's peanuts.

As a child growing up in Mindanao, Philippines, she couldn't wait for her grandmother's visits and the delicious home-roasted peanuts she would bring along with her. One day, noticing Perla's love for the nuts, her grandmother decided to teach Perla her secret recipe to roast crispy peanuts without grease. Perla forever held the memory close to her heart.


Image via Jellaluna/Flickr.

Decades later in 1987, when she was a young woman, Perla married a worker from the biggest industrial company in Iligan City, the National Steel Corporation. Together they had three children, and Perla's life revolved around taking care of her family and her home.

But around 2000, everything changed.

The National Steel Corporation was shut down, devastating the local economy. The sudden loss drove the city into chaos with conflict erupting and thousands without work, including Perla's husband.

As he looked for full-time employment, Perla began taking cooking jobs to make ends meet. And in the meantime, she made home-roasted peanuts from her grandmother's recipe as an inexpensive way to feed her family.

Word of Perla's amazing peanuts spread. Neighbors who tasted them began encouraging her to sell them, and before she knew it, Perla had begun her own business, selling the special greaseless roasted peanuts that she had loved so much as a child.

Images from the Global Fund for Women, used with permission.

And with that, Perla became an entrepreneur.

As she sold her peanuts locally, she caught the attention of Unlad Kabayan Migrant Services Foundation, an organization that works to empower Filipino migrant entrepreneurs. They believed in Perla and her product and gave her the skills training she needed to effectively run and manage a business. They also gave her a loan to help the business grow.

Armed with the loan and new skills, she formally launched Fem-Fem Delicious Crispy Peanuts in 2003, and the company quickly became successful, earning placement on store shelves and in malls in city after city.

Ultimately, the income from Perla's successful business helped her send all three of her children to college.

But that's not all. Her work also empowered her during a dark period in her life: living through domestic violence.

Perla spoke openly to the Global Fund for Women about the experience and the role financial independence played in her survival:

"For me, if a woman is without economic empowerment, it is very difficult for women without any income. ... I experienced [domestic] violence ... [and] my husband had another girl. This really didn’t affect me because I have work and I can send my children [to school] without my husband. Then I realized if women [are] without work or [if they are] not empowered, it is really difficult for women."

Today, 13 years after launching her company, Perla understands the power of her story to help other women.

Her husband now runs the day-to-day operations of the business while she works with Unlad offering financial guidance to other female entrepreneurs, sharing her skills and her story. Her reasoning for that work is simple:

"If a woman have income, she can support her family and herself. It is very important that the woman has income for herself. ... And she can also help other women. For me, I can really help other women through my skills and my experiences. I really enjoy helping other women because I can relate my experience to them. Actual experience is important … because I experienced it not only in theory but personally."

Those experiences became especially valuable in 2012 and 2013 when major typhoons rocked the tiny islands of the Philippines. Perla volunteered to help those displaced by the natural disaster and took particular interest in the female coconut farmers who had lost their livelihoods due to the destruction of the coconut trees. She worked with those women to help them develop the financial management and entrepreneurial skills necessary to get them back on their feet and earn a living.

Perla said that it was in those moments of helping her fellow women that she felt most like a strong woman herself. Her strength comes not from her own success, but in her ability to make others be successful, too.

All around the world, women and girls are regularly denied opportunities to control their own financial stability, security, and well-being.

Injustices like unequal access to education, the inability to open bank accounts and apply for jobs, and unequal pay are just a few of the barriers that hold women back.

But stories like Perla's — of women using the skills and resources they have to take charge of their economic well-being — are a reminder of what can happen when an investment is made in women and their work. Not only can her life be changed, but so can the lives of countless others.

Her story proves that for women, entrepreneurship — like her grandmother's peanut recipe — is the gift that just keeps on giving.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less

Several years ago, you wouldn't have known what QAnon was unless you spent a lot of time reading through comments on Twitter or frequented internet chat rooms. Now, with prominent Q adherents making headlines for storming the U.S. Capitol and elements of the QAnon worldview spilling into mainstream politics, the conspiracy theory/doomsday cult has become a household topic of conversation.

Many of us have watched helplessly as friends and family members fall down the rabbit hole, spewing strange ideas about Democrats and celebrities being pedophiles who torture children while Donald Trump leads a behind-the-scenes roundup of these evil Deep State actors. Perfectly intelligent people can be susceptible to conspiracy theories, no matter how insane, which makes it all the more frustrating.

A person who was a true believer in QAnon mythology (which you can read more about here) recently participated in an "Ask Me Anything" thread on Reddit, and what they shared about their experiences was eye-opening. The writer's Reddit handle is "diceblue," but for simplicity's sake we'll call them "DB."

DB explained that they weren't new to conspiracy theories when QAnon came on the scene. "I had been DEEP into conspiracy for about 8 years," they wrote. "Had very recently been down the ufo paranormal rabbit hole so when Q really took off midterm for trump I 'did my research' and fell right into it."

DB says they were a true believer until a couple of years ago when they had an experience that snapped them out of it:

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less

With 16 years of sobriety under his belt, Dax Shepard has served as a beacon of hope for people in recovery. With a reset of his sobriety clock last week after confessing to a slip with prescription painkillers, he still is.

The actor has been open about his addiction to alcohol and cocaine, and that transparency and honesty has undoubtedly helped many people through their own recovery journeys. But recovery from addiction is not always a one-way, detour-free road. Even people who have been sober for years must be diligent and self-aware or risk relapsing in ways that are easy to justify.

That's the scenario Shepard described in his recent podcast, in which he announced that he's now seven days sober. For people who struggle with addiction, it's a cautionary tale. He didn't take a drink, and he didn't touch cocaine. His slide into addiction relapse happened with prescription painkillers—Vicodin and Percocet. He started taking prescription pain pills after a motorcycle accident in 2012, moved to taking pills with his dad who was dying of cancer, and then came a gradual spiral of justifications, lying, gas lighting, and other addictive behaviors that enabled him to abuse those pills without acknowledging he was doing so.

Keep Reading Show less
Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

Keep Reading Show less