Stories of Hope in the Philippines – Trades of Hope

by | Artisans, Stories of Hope

Read Time: 4 min.

Empower women to keep their families together.

In the Philippines, finding employment as a woman in poverty can be extremely difficult. Poor working conditions, lack of job security, and unfair pay are often the realities. Through your purchase of their handcrafted designs, these women are receiving an income, health care, and social development programs. This allows these women to realize their potential and pursue their dreams in a safe environment. You have the opportunity to change lives!

Natural Capiz Shell – Fair Trade Jobs for Women in Areas of Extreme Poverty

Grace’s Story of Hope

When Grace applied for a job with this Artisan community in the Philippines, she underestimated the skill required to work with natural capiz shell but was determined to learn.

Believing that “with determination, nothing is impossible”, Grace soon overcame every challenge and has continued to advance in her career with this Artisan community for over fifteen years.

As a fair-trade Artisan, Grace enjoys legal benefits, training seminars, group retreats, and loans, and is able to send all six of her children to school.

She’s even earned enough income to purchase a lot and home for her family!

Grace and her family are thankful for the opportunities Grace has been offered.

She hopes to continue to receive more work, so the families in her community can continue to thrive.

Allen’s Story of Hope

Allen married an Artisan from this workshop and together they had three children.

Wanting to help her husband provide for their family’s needs, Allen eagerly learned the skills she needed to begin working for this workshop as a “piece rate” Artisan.

As the mother of an autistic child, being paid “per piece” rather than working an hourly schedule gave her the freedom and flexibility to work when it worked for her and her family.

Allen’s income allows her to send her kids to school and provide her child with autism with special education classes.

Always eager to learn, Allen is not only a skilled capiz shell, soap, lotion, and cologne Artisan, she’s even learned computer programming!

Retchel’s Story of Hope

For years, Retchel’s husband has traveled six days every week to provide for their family’s basic needs, leaving Retchel alone to care for their three children.

During these lonely times, Retchel began visiting her friend who handcrafted jewelry from capiz shells.

Fascinated by the beauty of capiz, she was inspired to learn the craft of binding and finishing capiz jewelry.

Her work as a fair-trade Artisan has relieved many of their family’s financial pressures and even allowed them to begin saving toward their dream of starting a business, so her husband won’t have to leave them anymore.

Every purchase of our natural capiz shell earrings from the Philippines is an investment in keeping families like Retchel’s together.

Emelyn’s Story of Hope

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.

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.

Now, this twenty-four-year-old is able to support her parents, send her younger brother back to school, and buy land to build her family a home.

She even co-manages the workshop’s entire capiz production process, along with the owner’s granddaughter!

Every purchase of our Aura Earrings helps empower Emelyn to lead and inspire her Artisan community in the Philippines.

Click on the photos below to explore this handcrafted natural capiz shell holiday ornament from the Philippines!

Deck the halls with holiday decor from the Philippines that empowers women in areas of extreme poverty!

Click on the photos below to explore these fair-trade, eco-friendly, natural capiz shell earrings!

Want to see how Emelyn and other Artisans in the Philippines make these natural capiz shell Aura Earrings?


Natural Woven Palm Straw – Income Opportunities for Women in Remote Villages

Many women in the Philippines live in poverty with poor working conditions and unfair pay, because opportunities to earn income on the islands are limited. Mothers and fathers are often forced to travel to faraway cities to find work that provides enough income to pay for their families’ basic needs. These parents must often live apart for their families for long periods of time while they send money home. When you purchase our handcrafted designs from the Philippines, you help provide safe jobs, healthcare, and fair wages in remote rural villages, so parents can earn enough income in their hometowns to stay with their families. Every purchase helps keep families in the Philippines together!

Inspired by traditional handcrafted baskets of the Philippines, Artisans weave straw from the stems of native Buri palms around handwoven rattan to create the natural color, shape, and design of this bangle.
Trades of Hope is partnering with Artisans in areas of extreme poverty in the Philippines to empower women to keep their families together.
Every purchase of Trades of Hope designs from the Philippines provides safe jobs with living wages that empower women to help keep their families together.

What would you like to see these Artisans make next?

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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.


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Trades of Hope is an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand that helps women around the world escape poverty and trafficking through our fair trade designs. Learn how you can partner with Artisans around the world here.