Patterns. As part of their daily routine, Amileta Servanda (in pink top) and Maribel Singuio (in gray top) show expertise in weaving Sawali mat.

From shanty housing out of crafted bamboo splits more commonly called as Sawali, most members of the Sawali Makers of Labrador Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) from  Brgy Bolo in Labrador town, Pangasinan, are now living in a safer and more convenient cemented houses because of the savings they earned out of their own Sawali business.

This has been made possible with the assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1- Sustainable Livelihood Program’s intervention through a 3-day Skills Training on Entrepreneurship on October 2015 conducted by Lite Technical Institute where each of the 70 program participants received starter kits which include 25 bundles of Pinatpatan and one bolo during the graduation.

Right after their graduation, program participants began their own business earning a minimum of P300.00 income daily. Before the Department’s intervention, the program participants who can’t afford to buy their own weaving materials and supplies, depend mainly on a few naighbor who could pay them Php100.00 daily in exchange of their weaving skills.

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 (Before, I can not buy more than a kilo of rice, but now I even have my own small rice retailing business. I was also able to build a concrete home with its own CR),” said SLPA President Violeta Garcia, 57. Bukod sa pagnenegosyo, tinuruan din kaming mag-budget. “Kailangan talaga na may tinatabing pera (Aside from the our own Sawali business, DSWD has taught us the importance of saving money),” she proudly added.

Amileta Servanda, 37, an SLPA member, on the other hand, said that she was able to buy and raise three goats out of her savings from Sawali making. “Habang may tuluy-tuloy na kita sa Sawali, dagdag kita rin kapag nabenta ang mga kambing. Ang laking tulong ng SLP (While there is a continuous income in Sawali making, selling the goats is also an additional income. SLP is really of big help)”.

Due to high demand and good quality of the Sawali produced by the Association, the suppliers pick the products straight from the members homes and deliver them mostly to big lumber companies in Luzon.

The Association started saving a part of their income September last year. As of October 2017, they had a total of Php98,000.00 in their association’s bank account. They plan of building a wide warehouse where all of the members could work together that all of the materials are stored in just one area.

Kung mawala man kami sa programang 4Ps, thankful kami dahil nabigyan naman kami ng matatag na kabuhayan (If ever we are no longer Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, we are still thankful that we are given a stable source of livelihood), said Violeta Garcia. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)