The women of
Marawi: Threading the way back to normalcy
October 24, 2017
MAKATI CITY –
Making ends meet is a great challenge for residents of Marawi City
but these women are doing everything just to stay afloat and keep
their family alive.
Sewing was their regular
source of livelihood, but all of a sudden, it came to an abrupt end.
On May 23, 2017, thousands of families were displaced by the war and
scores of families had to flee to ensure their families' safety.
But as they say, there's a
light at the end of the tunnel.
To hasten the recovery and
rehabilitation of Marawi City, the Department of Trade and Industry
(DTI), which leads the Bangon Marawi Task Force Sub-committee on
Business and Livelihood, provided these with sewing machines and
cloth as starter kits to help them earn while staying either
home-based or at evacuation centers.
Back in August, DTI-Region
10 identified 16 women internally displaced persons (IDPs) who will
be trained for dressmaking and were awarded with the sewing kits.
The 16 sewers are able to generate income for themselves.
From the Sta Elena
Gymnasium, where they temporarily stay, the 16 women sewers go to
the Provincial Training and Livelihood Development Center in Iligan
City, where every sewer can earn at least P500 after a day’s work.
For Asnia Sandiman, 23,
laying hands on a high-speed sewing machine was a dream come true.
Even as a kid, Asnia has been sewing handwoven tube skirts or malong
in Filipino, shoals, and long dresses to earn extra for her
schooling and for her family.
But with the new sewing
machines and cloth provided by DTI, Asnia can earn up to P1,300. At
school, her classmates also ask her to sew for them, allowing her to
earn even more.
To Asnia, the new sewing
kits was her new lease on life amid the crisis that she and her
family are going through.
"Naappreciate namin at
sobrang masaya kami. Parang nabigyan kami ng panibagong buhay," a
teary-eyed Asnia said, while recalling the time when the terrorists
where banging on their door.
"Malaking tulong sa amin
ito," she added.
On the other hand, the
DTI's Negosyo Center and PTLDC ensure that the handwoven malongs,
shoals, and long dresses made by the IDP sewers go to the market.
Indeed the products ended up in the right market with orders coming
in from SM Cagayan de Oro, Manila, the Bangon Marawi Concert, Bangon
Marawi Store at DTI main office in Makati City. There are also
orders from Rustan's for the Go Lokal! Project.
Fellow IDP and 36-year-old
Memeng Dianal, said the sewing kits allowed her to feed her six
children everyday. From P500 she earns before, now, Memeng earns
P2,000 a day, finishing at least 20 handwoven malongs, shoals, and
“Malaking tulong ito sa
amin [sewing kits] kahit kaunti-konti natutustusan namin yung
araw-araw na pangangailangan namin,” Memeng said.
Despite knowing that her
family’s home in ground-zero is now levelled due to the conflict,
Memeng is hopeful that once they return to Marawi, there will be
more opportunities for her and other Marawi residents. If only she
can handle two businesses, she would do it for her children.
“Kung pwedeng doblehin ang
business, magdodoble kayod ako para sa mga anak ko,” she said.
Now with the fighting
officially declared over by the government, Asnia and Memeng,
together with other residents of Marawi will just have to wait for
their return to their hometown.
After all, hope springs