Melissa Yeung Yap is a woman on a mission. She is a social entrepreneur, a natural farmer, an artist, a wife to Christian, and a mom to one year old Yevin.
She founded Got Heart (Got Heart Shops & Earth Kitchen) in 2007, manages Greenstone Pharmaceutical (Katinko Ointment) and is a faculty member of the Ateneo de Manila University.
Her dream is to help transform marginalized and impoverished communities into SHInDigs – Sustainable, Holistically developed, INdependent and DIGnified communities.
She describes being a social entrepreneur and a mother to be an exhilarating roller coaster ride, specifically the one with water. “It is fun, exciting, scary, unpredictable with ups, downs, flats, loops, splashes, and everything in between.”
When she isn’t busy changing lives on the field, she dabbles in pottery and painting. Her online art portfolio can be viewed at www.melissayeungyap.com
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is… snuggle up to my baby. (He co-sleeps with my husband and me.) Group hugs & kisses if both of them are awake. Ha Ha!
My typical day looks like… There’s really no “typical” day. As I juggle all my responsibilities, the proverbial hat changes and the flow of the day changes with it. I can safely say it starts and ends with lots of cuddle time with my family and anything in between is a surprise (even for me sometimes!)
There are days dedicated for community fieldwork, meetings, family and friends.
Some days are dedicated for painting (especially when there’s an upcoming exhibit) and making organic products.
Dinner time is usually reserved for family, friends and dates with my husband.
During fieldwork days:
Collaborative meetings with people in the community, research, developing livelihood programs like the Got Heart Roving Laboratory where we perform scientific experiments with various plants that grow in their area.
My baby usually goes with me wherever I go so I get to breastfeed on demand
My roles are… Wife, mother/mamacow, daughter, farmer, entrepreneur, artist, researcher, community development worker, chemist, ethnobotanist, explorer, teacher, lifelong student.
My goals are… to take good care of my family, the community and the environment the best way I can.
My children are…Yevin (my baby), Cocoa Puff (dog), Got Heart (foundation), Earth Kitchen (farm-to-table restaurant), Katinko (enterprise), my paintings and products.
Before I became a mom, I wish someone told me that… Breastfeeding is more painful than giving birth – but it’s totally worth it because it created this incredible bond between me and my baby. I just wish I got to prepare for it as much as I got to practice Gentle Birthing.
I think the best thing about motherhood is… feeling an overwhelming love for my baby in corners of my heart I didn’t know existed. He enabled me to be a better version of myself (more caring, selfless, loving).
I think the hardest thing about motherhood is… so far, the hardest has been exclusively breastfeeding & dealing with mastitis! – though it got easier after the 6th month when solids and water were introduced.
I deal with stress by… playing and cuddling with my baby and husband. Painting, making soap, eating good food, traveling.
I believe that balance is… being able to take care of my family, friends, community, self.
I admire… everyone who manifests love because they live-out the meaning of life.
I can’t live without… my cellphone (with data) coz it allows me to work from anywhere in the world.
One thing people don’t know about me is… that I get my best ideas in the shower.
My life motto is… to always be grateful, to surround myself with love & to do things with love.
My favorite book is… The Lorax.
My dream is… to be able to help make the world a better place in my own little way while having fun at the same time.
I end my days by… hugging and kissing my husband and baby, thanking God for all the blessings, praying for Him to enable me to do what He set me out to do.