Homes–and jobs–at Cebu relocation site
Emma Martacion was forced to quit her job in 2008 when she moved to a relocation site an hour’s ride away from the factory where she was working in Lapu-Lapu City after her home in a slum neighborhood was among those demolished during a clearing operation in Barangay Guizo in Mandaue City.
The 55-year-old woman, however, would find both a dwelling and a new job at the 1.8-hectare relocation site in Sitio Kobe in Barangay Canduman.
With the help of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi), Martacion and the other women are earning by making bags and purses using recyclable materials.
Aside from the 314 families who lost their homes in Guizo, the Canduman community includes 707 others who were fire victims.
According to the barangay chair, Leo Jabas, the site was developed in the 1990s with a livelihood component for the displaced families. The World Bank and the city government provided
P10 million for road and drainage, as well as a materials recovery facility (MRF), Jabas said.
When the barangay found a better and accessible MRF location in Zone 2, the old site was converted into a livelihood center for women with the help of Rafi. The foundation acquired eight high-speed and six manual sewing machines and provided funds to buy materials so the women could start sewing.
At present, 18 women, who underwent a three-week training in basic sewing, cutting and making patterns for bags, purses and pillows, are regulars in the center. The training was handled by a resident who used to work at a tailoring shop.
Jabas said the council officials were able to convince furniture factory owners in Mandaue to donate discarded cloth materials to the women for recycling. “From those pieces of cloth, they make bags and purses, which they sell in fiestas around Cebu province. They also sell in outlets in SM mall twice a month,” he said.
Some store owners and buyers who have learned about the center just contact them directly.
Colorful purses with zippers or snaps are priced P10 to P15 each. Bags are sold from P80 to P250, depending on the size and design.
“This is a better way of handling garbage. Instead of throwing the nonbiodegradable fabrics into the dump, they are recycled and the women at the center earn from them,” Jabas said. Each worker earns up to P1,000 daily.
Aside from purses and bags, the women make pillows, using as filling materials plastics collected from 4,000 households, shredded and cleaned at the MRF. The pillows are sold for P50, depending on the size.
“These pillows are very durable and don’t smell like plastic … . You can hardly notice the difference between plastic pillows and those using foam,” Jabas said.
The MRF delivers 10 to 15 sacks of shredded plastics twice a week to the center.
“The pillow-making has helped us reduce our nonbiodegradable garbage to a very significant percentage,” Jabas said.
He said the council was planning to extend the training center to house more women who are interested in the livelihood program.
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