Leo Barrameda: An inspiring person with a big heart

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Leo Barrameda agrees with philanthropist Danny Thomas that success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself, it’s what you do for others. 

Leo is the current manager of the International Collectors Programme at Art Dubai. He is part of the program which is only available to select art collectors from around the world. 

Known to be a philanthropist, he’s focused on helping Filipino students in the Philippines, especially those belonging to indigenous groups. After being exposed to charity work in 2015, he has been supporting the underprivileged through his skills as an entrepreneur and by sponsoring various charity organizations. For the past couple of years, together with his friends, through a scholarship project, they sent hundreds of B’Laan kids to school and in 2018, through the same initiative, they were able to send 100 kids to elementary schools. 

But the story behind his success is a series of harrowing events. The Global Filipino Show has recently interviewed the Filipino philanthropist to know him more. 

How did you start getting into art and education? 

It wasn’t that easy. I went abroad in 2008 as an ordinary OFW. It came to a point that my life and work-life have been very stagnant. I work, sleep, and then work again. Very routinary and I wanted to explore so I joined different organizations, attended training, met new people, and built my network. 

Were you expecting these things to happen to you? 

I don’t even know because it happened so fast. My goal was just a mere dream and eventually, I achieved those. Everything is possible if you’re just passionate about what you’re doing. 

How does it feel being recognized as one of the most influential Filipinos in the Gulf region for 4 consecutive times? 

It’s a big title that comes with huge responsibilities. It’s very overwhelming and I wasn’t expecting this glory. With this title, I have to be a role model as I am considered to be an influential person. 

Why do you want to help? 

I was a scholar when I was still studying. I have finished studying using a scholarship. When I had the capacity to help others, I supported a kid’s education. And in 2019, through the help of my friends, we were able to send a total of 250 students. 

How did you become the Leo Barrameda today? 

My start as an OFW wasn’t a fairytale-story. I explored opportunities here and in the Philippines and was able to upgrade more. 

Just like normal Filipinos here, I also arrived in Dubai on a visit visa. I also experienced living as a bed spacer, slept in beds with bed bugs, got my food eaten by a roommate, police raided our flat, and used public transportation. 

I didn’t stop whatever obstacle tried to hinder me to achieve my goals. I didn’t fall apart, it did make me stronger. 

What’s your advice to the young OFWs? 

If you feel stagnant in your workplace, explore opportunities! If you fail, it’s okay as it’s part of life. 

This story has been featured on the first issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at tgfmfi@gmail.com.

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