LABRADOR—Who would have thought that change for a better life would come for lowly sawali weavers in this town?
From shanty housing out of crafted bamboo splits, members of the Sawali Makers of Labrador Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) in Barangay Bolo here now live in a safer and more convenient concrete houses sourced from savings they earned from their sawali business.
Amileta Servanda and Maribel Singulo proudly show their skills in weaving sawali mats.
The change started when the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 1, organized a Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) a three-day skills training on entrepreneurship in October 2015 conducted by Lite Technical Institute.
Janine Joy Altero, DSWD’s marketing officer for SLP said after the training, each of the 70 program participants received starter kits that included 25 bundles of Pinatpatan and one bolo.
Soon as the program participants started their own business, they began earning a minimum of P300.00 income daily when they could only depend mainly on neighbors who could pay them P100.00 daily to do the weaving before they took the training.
“Dati, hindi ko kayang bumili ng higit sa isang kilong bigas, ngayon may maliit na bigasan na ako. Nakapagpagawa na rin ako ng maliit ngunit sementadong bahay na may sariling kubeta,” said Violeta Garcia, 57, SLPA president.
“Bukod sa pagnenegosyo, tinuruan din kaming mag-budget. Kailangan talaga na may tinatabing pera.” she proudly added.
Amileta Servanda, 37, a SLPA member, was able to buy and raise three goats from her earnings from sawali making. “Habang may tuluy-tuloy na kita sa sawali, dagdag kita rin kapag nabenta ang mga kambing. Ang laking tulong ng SLP.”
Due to high demand and good quality of the sawali produced by the Association, the bulk buyers pick up the products from the members’ homes who in turn deliver these mostly to big lumber companies in Luzon.
The Association also started saving part of their earnings in September last year. As of October 2017, its bank passbook showed a P98,000 deposit. The members now plan to build a warehouse where they could work together and store all their materials and finished products.
“Kung mawala man kami sa programang 4Ps, thankful kami dahil nabigyan naman kami ng matatag na kabuhayan, “Garcia said. (Eva Visperas)
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