Bantayan, a small island belonging to the province of Cebu in the Philippines, was one of the areas most severely affected by the typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.
Local populations have suffered severe damage and were left in deplorable conditions!
The emergency for these communities was then to find a way to stimulate economic activity and find quickly a new source of revenues.
To help them, we got interested in an activity: weaving from pandan (local plant).
Several women of the island already had basic knowledge allowing them to make place-mats and matting pandan, but unfortunately did not have the financial means to develop this activity.
We then deployed the necessary resources to help them!
Key steps of the project
April 2014 At the beginning, we have grouped a dozen motivated women and have provided them with the required materials to manufacture of basic weaving products, to stimulate activity.
July 2014 After the reopening of the market and the prospects of development made more concrete, HOST organized a training for weaving bags.
Felipe, a specialist of weaving belonging to the Department of Industrial Affairs visited Bantayan to lead a 10-day training for the weavers. Women then acquired new weaving techniques and learned how to dye pandan leaves in order to make colorful bags and baskets.
August 2014 Once the activity of weaving bags settled, we approached two retailers based in Bacolod : the brands Kiculo and Vivo that committed to the project by making the bags available to the public.
October 2014 The "Bantayan totes" were presented to suppliers around the world during the "Manila Fame," one of the largest fairs in Southeast Asia during which the creations of local artisans are exposed to potential exporters.
November 2014 Second training with the aim of improving the quality and developing new weaving techniques to produce different kinds of bags.
Since the launching of the project, our volunteers regularly visit the island of Bantayan to follow closely the evolution of the work of weavers, and each time the surprise is huge ...
In just six months, women have gone from very basic weaving products to quality bags!
With the training of November, the weavers learned again new techniques of weaving and also techniques of sewing that allow them to make bags more and more sophisticated, and even in line with current trends!
During one of our last trips to Bantayan, we collected the poignant testimony of weavers, to better understand how the project has changed their lives. For many, the activity of weaving has increased their daily income by three, allowing them to send their children to school, or to get the electricity in their small habitats.