Fair Trade Jewelry and Ethical Fashion

Emelyn’s Story of Hope in the Philippines

by | Artisans

Emelyn’s Story of Hope in the Philippines – (Read Time: 2 min.)

Searching for Hope

When Emelyn was a little girl, her family moved from their village in the Philippines to the city – hoping her father could find a sustainable job with good wages. But the income from his new job wasn’t enough to provide for their family of six. After financial struggles forced Emelyn and her siblings to drop out of school during her first year of college, Emelyn went to work at a fast-food restaurant.

Opportunities for Hope

At the restaurant, she met the granddaughter of a local businesswoman who taught women how to make jewelry and art from capiz shells. Amazed by the Artisans’ creativity, Emelyn eagerly learned each step of the production process and enjoyed earning a better income doing a job she loved. Now, Emelyn is able to support her parents, send her younger brother back to school, and buy land to build her family a home.

Emelyn, Capiz Artisan in the Philippines
Emelyn, Capiz Artisan in the Philippines

Empowered by Hope

Emelyn’s determination to overcome relentless personal challenges earned the respect of her fellow Artisans, including the workshop’s owner, who recently transferred their capiz production to operate under the management of her granddaughter’s and Emelyn’s partnership.

 “Live life to the fullest by loving your work, enjoying your workmates, learning to improve, and offering a helping hand to others, because it will lead you to become a better person and succeed.” 

– Emelyn, Capiz Artisan in the Philippines

Every purchase of our natural capiz shell earrings helps empower Emelyn to lead and inspire her Artisan community.

Hope for Her Future

“I wasn’t able to finish my studies, and it’s very difficult to get hired for a good paying job in the Philippines due to the number of displaced workers. I used to wake up very early in the morning because it would take two hours to commute to work. Then, I’d get home very late. Now as an Artisan, I can do other things during the hours I used to commute.   

I’m able to help our grandparents take care of their other grandchildren who are very young and help with household chores. It means a lot to me that I’m able to work at home because my partner’s grandfather, who owns this capiz workshop and taught me my Artisan skills, just passed away. I’m thankful that I was at home when he got sick, because I was able to assist his wife and look after him, whom I treat as my own grandparents.  

Capiz production is very close to my heart. I dream of being financially stable and being able to support my family and live a comfortable life. I hope that our buyers will continue to support us in the future, so we’ll be able to continue this work from generation to generation.” – Emelyn, Capiz Artisan in the Philippines

What would you like to see these Artisans make next?


Emelyn’s Story of Hope in the Philippines – Originally published September 28, 2020

Updated August 11, 2022

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Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas is an inspirational writer with a passion for helping women discover and celebrate their unique gifts and abilities. Kathy is part of the Communications Team at Trades of Hope focusing on Artisan advocacy.