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In Ilocos Norte, OFW women’s group make change through eco-bags

March 9, 2017
In Ilocos Norte, OFW women’s group make change through eco-bags

This year’s celebration of the National Women’s Month centers on the theme, “women make change,” and a group of women overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte embodies just that, by creating bags which are not only eco-friendly, but women-friendly too.

 

The Bacarra OFW Association, or BOFWA, has been making bags out of cheap rice sacks and textiles since August 2016, and this project helped provide livelihood and income to women OFW returnees and OFW dependents in the town.

 

This project came into being when the BOFWA was granted with a funding worth P500, 000 through the Bottoms-up Budgeting from the Department of Labor and Employment and the Local Government Unit of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. The association applied for the program in 2014, and was granted with the fund the following year. In October 2016, the BOFWA also received additional P100,000 from the LGU Bacarra to serve as their operating fund.

 

An active partner of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the BOFWA received equipment and materials to launch the project, which has been benefiting the association’s more than 50 members, most of them women.

 

“The members work together in the different stages of the project. Some work as sewers and pattern-makers, while others help in the marketing and selling of the products,” said BOFWA President Flordeliza Aceret.

 

The bags are sold from as low as P10 to P300, depending on the size. For every bag sold, each member who contributed in the project gets an income share.

 

“Some members could earn as high as P3,000 per month, especially when orders come in influx. Just like now, we are working on the 220 pieces of bags ordered by the Department of Agriculture for its special event,” tells Aceret.

 

The project does not only promote economic empowerment to the women members, but it also puts forward the group’s “green” advocacy.

 

“Our products are made of used rice sacks which are otherwise trash for rice dealers. Once used, the sacks are no longer durable to store rice grains again” says Aceret. “We then buy these kinds of sacks, and turn trash into money.”

 

The group cuts and sews the sacks into different sizes, accentuates with colorful textiles, and turns them into fashionable bags of various kinds, such as coin purse, vanity kits, to even large shoulder bags.

 

The BOFWA has also distributed their products in the Bacarra Public Market, in support to the town’s ban on plastic bags. “We encourage market-goers to shift into the use of eco-bags like our products, instead of the plastic bags which are not environment-friendly,” says Aceret.

 

The BOFWA hopes their project will grow and expand. “With our bags, we hope to bring change. We will work hard until everyone bags the fruit of OFW women empowerment,” shares Aceret. (JPM)

The BOFWA, headed by its president Flordeliza Aceret (in pink), has been making bags out of cheap rice sacks and textiles since August 2016. Among the group’s products are coin purse, vanity kits, and shoulder bags.
The Bacarra Overseas Filipino Workers’ Association (BOFWA) provides livelihood to the its members, composed mostly of women OFW returnees, through this eco-bag making project, launched when the group received P500,000 from the Bottoms-Up Budgeting from the Department of Labor and Employment and the Local Government of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
The BOFWA was granted with a funding worth P500, 000 through the Bottoms-up Budgeting from the Department of Labor and Employment and the Local Government Unit of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. The association applied for the program in 2014, and was granted with the fund the following year. In October 2016, the BOFWA also received additional P100,000 from the LGU Bacarra to serve as their operating fund.