Country: Quezon City, The Philippines
Staff: 8 full time.
Year Established: 1996
Primary languages: English, Tagalog (Filipino)
Products: Recycled products
Needs: New opportunities to grow, a photo light box and web design, and product design support
Social Media connection: Website and facebook
Kamay Krafts is a group of 9 cooperatives employing 190 women based in Manila. The women involved pool their own money together to grow the business and then share the profits.
For some of the women the income they earn at Kamay Krafts is the only money they receive to support their whole family. They literally take recycled materials from the tip and turn it into funky bags, purses, wallets and belts.
This approach is ethical, environmentally sustainable and avoids the corruption so prevalent in the Philippines.
In addition Kamay acts as a microfinance bank, allowing other projects to begin and further break the chains of poverty. Kamay also runs a cut-price generic pharmacy.
Since 1991 Kamays’ vision has been to see people’s lives transformed from the slums to a life of sufficiency, dignity and self-reliance. Each job created by Kamay can positively affect the lives of at least 5 other by income generation. This income is typically used to pay for children’s health, clothes and education.
A Role Model
Elsie is a mother of 3 children (18, 19, 21)and has been part of the production team of kamay krafts since 2005. Her husband, who used to work in a factory that made gloves, lost the job when the factory closed down some years back and is now working at home helping Elsie in all her sewing projects from kamay krafts. With three industrial machines at home which they had bought second hand from the previous employer and with the income from sewing recycled bags elsie and her husband was able to survive the studies of their children in college. The microfinance scheme also helped to pay for the huge tuition fees for the three students. She and her husband have a good teamwork and makes very good quality products for kamay krafts. Both of them have the same understanding in financial matters and share the same priorities when it comes to family needs. Their eldest Nimfa has just graduated in March this year and after successfully passing the CPA board exam in October, she is now working as an auditor in one of biggest auditing firm in the Philippines. Elsie is indeed very proud and greatly blessed having a supportive and very caring and responsible husband. To have children who value good education as well as the hard efforts of their parents is indeed rewarding. Their family income also enabled them to slowly payback debts made years ago. Elsie also makes herself available to her fellow coop members to teach sewing to those who want to learn the skill.