Hello everyone! こんにちは皆さん！
My name is Kaila Ocampo, and I am the team leader of Kawaii Philippines. On behalf of our humble community & hard-working Kawaii PH team, I would like to welcome you to KawaiiFund.org, the official website of Kawaii Philippines’ fundraising campaign for kawaii culture enthusiasts. This is a product of our collective effort, and thank you for witnessing another grand dream with us.
Before anything else, I would like to share with you how Kawaii Philippines started from scratch and maybe some narration / trivia of our advocacy. And yes, we are not just some organization pleading for money or pledges for vested interests. This is our passion, and we have a purpose WHY we choose to share kawaii in such manner.
Last April 2013, I was appointed to represent the Philippines to be the “Kawaii Leader” by Kawaii International program (aired in NHK World). I was a girl who didn’t have confidence or who had a lot of insecurities, until I began to change the way I see things and incorporate positivity and kawaii together. I used to think that in order to be “kawaii”, I must have the dolly features & pretty frilly clothes. Until I realized that “looking cute” means more than that. Who wants to meet or become a kawaii girl who does not have a kawaii personality too? Please do not get me wrong though. There is nothing wrong with loving pretty stuff, make-up and dresses. It is just that one also needs to strive to be pretty inside as well.
Moreover, I’ve seen the “not-so-good side” of this “kawaii boom”. Big people just want eyeballs, likes.. for what? For money & recognition? And not everyone is being treated fairly. I have observed that some management companies / producers just use cute naive girls to drive fans, social media likers (instilling a sense of “I will make you popular” mentality, which makes me sick.. and sometimes they don’t even compensate these kawaii girls accordingly), and whatnots to promote products and make cash. That is quite saddening, really.
Our “unique approach / direction” of promoting kawaii culture has raised a few eyebrows. Many companies / big people have approached to consult.. but they just want to make money or use our platform to create awareness for their businesses, without really even considering our organization’s values & vision. And because of that, we just have to shy away from those (stick to our principles) and think of other ways on how to gather resources and funds to jumpstart more projects.
The feeling to be chosen as the so-called “Kawaii Leader” in my country was great. I felt that “certain high” about proving myself and to the rest of the world that a girl from a third-world country can achieve such. However, I had this nagging feeling I couldn’t ignore. I felt that my mission as the “Kawaii Leader” should not just stop there. Titles are just titles and I couldn’t just call myself as a leader if I weren’t being one.
Then one time, I came home to Manila. I randomly met up with friends who also share the same love about kawaii culture.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a kawaii convention here too?” – Us, dreaming together.
And that was our goal. It was such a far-fetched dream for all of us. We just started with a small team of kawaii girls who had different obligations as working professionals and students. We just contributed what we could offer, not really thinking “What’s in it for us?”. Right from the start, we have been genuine about sharing kawaii. We share kawaii (and Japanese culture) not because we are being compensated to do so, but because these are our interests.
We first decided to promote the “kawaii culture” through Kawaii in Manila 1, a “Kawaii Lifestyle Workshop” among 20+ girls in Manila. The feedback was great and it even gained cheers from abroad. : )
The truth is, everything that we have achieved now is also a result of our unwavering spirit with all the failures and rejected proposals. Maraming hindi naniwala rin. Sino nga ba maniniwala na may mapupuntahan etong Kawaii PH? Japan-japan lang naman mga ‘yan eh. Thankfully, there were believers too, even there were just a few (and that was enough). And that is why we are more than thankful to everyone who believed in our vision, mission, and goals before we grew from a small team to a helpful community of girls who do not only talk about which waterproof mascara is the best in the market, but also about how to chase your own dreams, regardless of your background.
Then “Kawaii in Manila 2”, the first Philippine kawaii convention happened. And from 25+ girls from Kawaii in Manila 1, it multiplied to a shocking number of 1,500+ con attendees. We ran out of printed tickets, and the social media hangover after that almost lasted a week! It was crazy! The feeling was surreal, and my teammates and all of our partners were surprised. These would not be possible if it were not for the people who risked with us, even though our idea was deemed “weird” by some.
(Kawaii in Manila 2 official poster – convention.kawaii.ph)
After that, we have decided to take it to another level by investing in a mini office / HQ for Kawaii.PH teammates. Usually, we would only hold our meetings at a random food court in a mall to talk about our strategies and plans for Kawaii PH activities. Now, we have a place where we can stock our items for Kawaii PH Store (which we also aim to become a physical shop in the Philippines). We still have a lot of dreams, as you can tell. : ) We want to touch more lives and empower more people through what we believe that can make a difference in this world.
(#KawaiiEmpowerment seminar & workshop at Assumption Development Foundation)
However, in terms of feasibility, “passion” or puso will not be enough. That is why we have decided to come up with a fundraising campaign. And I hope that this lengthy welcome message written from the heart will make you want to be part of it too.
As of the moment, the website is still a big work-in-progress and some features have not been installed yet. However, if we waited for the perfect timing to complete everything, it might take us more time and we cannot afford to spend so much time in planning and doing check lists, without actually taking action.
And this is us, taking actions for our crazier dreams to become inspiring realities.
This is not only a local fundraising / crowd-funding movement. This is open to everyone who believes in our vision to spread kawaii as a way to empower lives.
If you are a business owner / company who believes in our movement and you would like to contribute, please feel free to contact us. As of the moment, we are looking for venue sponsors (based in Manila) for our fundraising events (kawaii workshop, kawaii bazaar, and kawaii gatherings).
We are only interested in being partnership or affiliation with people who truthfully believe in our cause. : )
Thank you for reading and congratulations for reaching until the very end.
With utmost sincerity & love from us,
Kaila & Kawaii Philippines
(I would like to commend the efforts of Kawaii Fund team for all the contributions. Thank you ChiChi Romero for the illustrations, Mikee Yboa & Az Talal for the creative copywriting, and Micaela Cruz for the survey & research.)