How Did This Little Blue Chair End Up Changing So Many Lives?
Good comes can take on many forms, even in otherwise random objects. We talk about them. We nurture them. We hone them. We live them. We, interestingly, can sit on them, too. Here's a story for you: In October 2020, Tarlac Congressman Carlos "Charlie" Cojuangco gifted his wife, China Jocson, with a plastic blue toddler chair. They had been engaged ealier that year and had big plans for the future.
He told her that it was an assurance of his constant presence in her life. The couple had married not too long after. With the chair came reflection. The two would talk about aspirations and goals while Jocson sat on it. Cojuangco and Jocson would build a life around the chair. They'd take it everywhere when they felt like they needed to have an honest conversation. It was a way for Cojuangco to show how much he valued his wife's company. He'd pull it up each time they had to discuss things like their political careers, their projects, their marriage, and, of course, charity work.
Cojuangco ran the Carlos O. Cojuangco Foundation, after all, an organization which supported a variety of altruistic causes and programs. Meanwhile, Jocson co-founded this group called Maria Maria, which focused on feeding programs at impoverished communities. They would also volunteer for drives and donate to the church, as well. The "chair sessions" would only further reaffirm their commitment to doing good in the world. Thus, the idea for the Little Blue Chair Initiative came to be.
The Little Blue Chair offers medical assistance, scholarships, angel investing, and church funding, among other causes near and dear the couple's heart. It also helps prisons and even indigenous and cultural groups, as the couple has long been patrons for the culture and the arts.
To bolster the platform, the couple even sought out the services of a certain Josephine Romero of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship, who would help oversee the project with a few international advisors. “When life blesses you financially, raise your standard of giving and not your standard of living… This was repeatedly shared to me by Mr. and Mrs. Cojuangco as their stringent practice. This principle serves as the precedent for this initiative,” says Romero.
Unfortunately, the former Tarlac representative would meet his demise less than a year after their marriage. In February 2022, it was announced that Cojuangco passed after suffering a brain aneurysm in late October 2021. He was 58 at the time. His untimely end would give the blue chair new meaning.
“Channels were always relied on by the couple to allocate their donations,” shares Cydea Paras, a Little Blue Chair consultant. “This approach will continue, their goodwill remains undisclosed." And while Jocson is strictly observing the traditional year-long period of mourning, she says that there will be "no inertia" when it comes to ceding.
The project lives on. With it Cojuangco's legacy, too. So will Jocson's compassion. Leave it to a little toddler's chair to carry the burdens of these crucial causes.
The organization is calling on us for some goodwill, too. This little blue chair is trying to change even more lives and it needs our help. Learn more about the project at www.littlebluechair.ph