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Postscript                                               A Good Night’s Sleep

             bought his own shares in CARD Bank, with no strings attached. “Do what you will
             with the money,” he told Aris. “I won’t sit on the board. I won’t ask for anything. You
             can buy me out after a while.”

             CARD Bank has since evolved into CARD MRI (Mutually Reinforcing Institutions),
             a much larger group dedicated to poverty eradication mainly through education and

             Aris last met with Wash three weeks before his passing and recalls that Wash pledged
             to continue supporting the group’s Zero Dropout Program.

             “That was his brainchild,” says Aris, “and he wanted to make sure we would pursue
             it. I felt like he was giving me his final instructions.”

             The program, designed to keep elementary students in school, began in 2011 with
             just 100 students, then 1,000, and grew until reaching its present coverage of over
             1,200,000 students, with special focus on hard-to-reach areas in Mindanao and
             Samar. “Many children are still dropping out of school between Grades 1 to 6,
             because they can’t afford to buy books, bags, pencils, and other supplies. Many can’t
             even buy slippers, or have fare money.”

             A firm believer in basic education as a game changer in Philippine development,
             Wash generated about P100 million in funding over the years, drawing on his own
             funds and tapping his network of corporate sponsors. “He didn’t hesitate to play
             hardball with sponsors,” recalls Aris. “He’d ask them: Do you want to support this
             program? He got the big corporations on board.”

             Wash also supported CARD MRI in its microfinance program, which offers loans to
             the poor ranging from P1,000 to P3,000, with a very reasonable interest rate of 1%.
             When Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the country in 2013, more than 30,000 CARD-
             MRI members were affected. Wash was worried and asked Aris if they should write
             off their loans. Aris demurred, telling Wash that he was confident they would bounce
             back—and sure enough, they did, with a repayment rate of 99%. Amazed, Wash told
             Aris, “The poor are better than the rich—they pay their debts!”

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