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Weaving change in the Philippines

Finding a way to help both people and the environment to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Rachael Adams | 12 Nov 2021

Credit: PhilRads

Credit: PhilRads

The coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous for vulnerable communities in the Philippines. Lockdowns cut off the few income opportunities that many people had. But as restrictions begin to ease, our local partner is empowering people to weave a better future.

During the pandemic, Tearfund and our local partners have been providing food, clean water and public health information to help protect communities. But, just as importantly, we've been working alongside communities to ensure that they can recover and rebuild for the long-run.

After experiencing so much hardship, the last thing these people needed was to just go back to the way things were before: barely earning enough to scrape by.

An invitation

PhilRads, our local partner in the Philippines, set up four community hubs in Luzon – the country’s largest island. These hubs provide people with training to help them set up their own businesses. They also equip them with financial skills and the know-how to be more resilient when future disasters hit. At the end of the training, PhilRads gives them resources to start up their own small business.

One of the community groups set up by Tearfund’s local partner, PhilRads. Its members are being empowered to lift themselves out of poverty | Image credit: PhilRads

One of the community groups set up by Tearfund’s local partner, PhilRads. Its members are being empowered to lift themselves out of poverty | Image credit: PhilRads

PhilRads works alongside local churches to help identify people who will benefit most from this – people who are usually marginalised from society.

‘We wanted to make sure that these courses were accessible to everyone,’ shares Raymond Kwong, who leads Tearfund’s work in East and Southeast Asia. ‘We have such a diverse mix now – from single parents to senior citizens to people with additional needs.

‘No one should be excluded from being given the opportunity to learn and to lift themselves out of poverty.’

Weaving hope

One of the training courses has been teaching people how to weave baskets. Not only is this a way to earn a living, it also provides a sustainable solution to single-use plastics and waste – a huge problem in the area that is harming people’s health and the environment.

The group is learning how to weave different objects – a valuable skill that will help them to earn an income as well as protect the environment. Here are some plant baskets the group have made.
They have also learnt how to make different types of baskets and bags | Image credit: PhilRads

Top: The group is learning how to weave different objects – a valuable skill that will help them to earn an income as well as protect the environment. Here are some plant baskets the group have made. Bottom: They have also learnt how to make different types of baskets and bags | Image credit: PhilRads

‘The basket weaving is a really innovative way of helping people to recover from the pandemic,’ continues Raymond. ‘It’s providing a solution to an ongoing problem in communities, while giving local people decent work opportunities.’

The name of the group is Helping Bayong, meaning ‘weave as one to help each other’.

‘People have spent months in lockdown, which has been isolating and lonely for most,’ concludes Raymond.

‘Helping them to get back on their feet financially is important, but so is reminding them that they don’t have to do this alone. Ensuring that these projects felt like a community – where people can come together and lift each other up – is really important.

‘Please continue to pray for Tearfund and our partners around the world to help people recover from the coronavirus pandemic.’

Pray with us

Dear God,

With you, nothing is impossible; you can do more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). In light of this truth, we lift up the work Tearfund and its local partners are doing to help communities recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Bless them with wisdom, vision, boldness and resources so that recovery doesn’t mean going back to the way things were before. Lord, give comfort and hope to those who are still struggling from the coronavirus pandemic. We pray for help to reach them soon.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Rachael Adams


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