My partner social enterprise Jacinto & Lirio has filmed these short but very informative videos that demonstrate how their water hyacinths are harvested and "leatherized" before turning them into super functional journals/planners and travel wallets among other things. They give us a glimpse of the amount of work put into these processes which is, for me, always a compelling sight to behold. I also love the fact that the clips focused on the workers themselves. Getting to know these workers and listening to them talk about their stories MATTER!
VIDEO 1: Harvesting Water Hyacinths
VIDEO 2: Leatherizing Water Hyacinths
People who live in poverty are almost always the ones clamoring for change from the government (not just in the Philippines) and rightfully so. Some are even born poor already; it’s as if being at the very bottom of the social strata is an inheritance passed on from parents to their children and their children to their very own offspring. They don’t seem to have a choice — or do they?
I feel that the answer could be both yes and no. Yes — the poor does have a choice because at the end of the day, we all make our own path, and it’s up to us if we want to seek greener pastures and strive for a better life; or the answer can be no, it’s out of their control because being born in a poor family in itself means the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. This means better opportunities may simply be a “pie in the sky” for them right at the very beginning, perhaps due to poor educational background or lack thereof. How can these impoverished communities land a decent-paying job that’s enough to feed their families if they don’t have the skills and educational attainment most employers are looking for?
The Philippine government provides livelihood programs and workshops to help people in need of employment but are not equipped with the necessary skills set and training. Sure, the government does its part, but I feel like businesses — especially small business owners! — can help immensely! Whether you’re a new business owner or are planning to start your own venture, merging entrepreneurship with community development through offering a sustainable livelihood is a revolutionary business plan you should be considering. If the poor feels that there’s no silver lining that can bring a little spark of hope or that the light at the end of the tunnel has dimmed, then CREATE THAT GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR THEM. You can be their shining light — if you want to.
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