Some of the tools needed to make hablon.
Mar 2 2016

Weaving a promising future in the Philippines

From left: Sponsored elder Florfina and moms Eliza and Lorna learned about hablon weaving.

From left: Sponsored elder Florfina and moms Eliza and Lorna learned about hablon weaving.

Woven into every sponsorship story are personalized solutions to overcome poverty and get ahead.

That story is no different for Eliza from the Philippines. Her 20-year-old son, Christian, has been sponsored through Unbound since 2004. But with seven other children at home, getting ahead in life remains a challenge. Their family’s only income comes from her husband’s farming.

Eliza is able to send Christian to school with the support his sponsors, Janet and Tim from Kansas. She also uses the sponsorship support to supplement her family’s nutritional and other daily needs.

But it isn’t just financial support that Eliza and her family receive from the Unbound program. One of the intangible benefits available is the opportunity for parents to participate in mothers groups.

Unbound’s emphasis on sustainability and empowerment through mothers groups provides a platform to learn skills that can lead to additional income for families.

Eliza and other mothers in her area participated in a workshop facilitated by a local government organization called Women’s Weavers Association to learn the art of hablon. Hablon is derived from the Hiligaynon word “habol” meaning “to weave.” Hiligaynon is one of the many languages spoken in the Philippines. Hablon refers to both the creative process of weaving and the beautiful products that are made.

“We don’t have a permanent job, so during our free time we make this [hablon],” Eliza said. “It can help me in supporting the needs of my family.”

A lack of stable employment is the reality of millions of people living in poverty around the world and results in financial instability in the home. Livelihood programs, like making handicrafts, enable stay-at-home moms to contribute to their family’s income while managing their homes.

Lorna is another mother who benefitted from the training. Her 21-year-old daughter, Louie, is sponsored by Clifford and Debbie from Oklahoma.

Like Eliza’s family, Lorna’s family derives their income from farming, but the prospect of additional resources through her newfound weaving skills gives her hope.

“It can help me to sustain our daily needs, even if it is a small amount, at least we still earn money,” Lorna said. “I can make three pieces of cloth with different designs in a week.”

The beauty of hablon isn’t just in its intricate and colorful designs, but in the diversity of products one can create through the process. The mothers learned how to make shawls, blankets, gowns, table runners, bags, wallets and curtains, which can open up opportunities for reselling these common goods in their own communities.

Lorna and Eliza are optimistic about exploring how hablon can help their families get ahead. They hope it will translate into a more sustainable future for their families and many others in Unbound’s program in the Philippines.

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2 thoughts on “Weaving a promising future in the Philippines”

  1. Is it possible for unbound to sell any of these mothers’ groups products over the Internet? I would like very much to be able to support their projects.

    1. Dear Robin,
      Thank you for your question. Others have also asked about the possibility of Unbound operating a store featuring handmade items from our sponsored members, and it’s something that has been considered. However, after discussion, we feel that the time we spend is best invested by teaching mother’s livelihood skills and by helping to provide resources to expand their own businesses, while they gain consistent clientele on their own in their communities. There are many considerations associated with selling good from other countries, such as shipping and customs. Additionally, most families that create these handmade items are not equipped to offer other ways of purchasing their goods, other than face-to-face business, and because Unbound as an organization is invested in providing strong benefits to our families, this is not something we have the means to implement at this time.
      Sincerely,
      Sponsor Services

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