There’s a time for stories of destruction and dismay. But there’s also a time for stories of creativity and human spirit. Stories of success. Stories that inspire us.
In Bago City just 20km south of Bacolod in the Visayas region of the Philippines a group of women are crocheting used plastic bags, diverting them from landfill and turning them into a colourful array of products. When you look at the end result it’s hard to believe these items started their life as simple plastic bags! This is art!
The Bag-O recycling project has been operating since 2009. The department of social welfare coordinates with the department of the environment, who collects and cleans the bags and send them on to the crochet teams. I am so interested in this intersection between livelihood and the environment. Projects that protect the environment, AND provide income to people nurturing our planet— that’s where I see this project heading. I hope I can direct Plastic Free Philippines there in some way.
The project was initiated by a peace corps volunteer, Rachael Saler and even though the sales and size of the team has diminished since she left, the project is very much ongoing and continues to provide a secondary income to the women. I met Dayne Belza who made 3000 pesos in August through crocheting in her spare time. She also has a buy and sell business. Myrna Ceperiano is one of the Bag-O crocheters. She was having a very challenging time providing for her children and she urgently needed 1200 pesos to pay for her daughters tuition fees. When the Bag-O sales came in for that month she received an amount totalling exactly 1240 pesos. She cried tears of gratitude.
When enterprises can work to serve both people and the environment then that is when true success begins. That’s when the magic happens. And that’s when we cry tears of joy, because we know, we just know that it’s meant to be. I believe this Bag-O project is meant to be and I’m thankful to Rachael and everyone involved. Also to Riza Borbon, Daynie Belza, Bebing Liraza and Jurie Vic Mesias for sharing your time and the project with me.