The Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. in Negros Oriental is strengthening its training and marketing strategies for former child domestic workers and their mothers so they can earn decent income through livelihood opportunities.
However, the group faces a dilemma on how to sustain the projects for the marginalized workers and trafficked women and children, after allegations of unliquidated funds from the United States Agency for International Development.
Dondee Señires and Marlene Pepino of VFFI-Negros Oriental yesterday said there are 200 to 500 school children under their care, so they must find more means of earning income.
The livelihood training started last year, is slowly gaining headway and has produced items, like floor mats, shoe coats, mop heads, potholders, poly-canvass envelope, quilted rags and eco-bags.
Around 20 working students, former domestic helpers and their mothers, who are members of the Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawang Pantahanan sa Pilipinas, are now involved in producing the items, Pepino said.
Cloth swatches, or remnants of clothing material for the production of these sewn items, come from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, and Davao, and acquired at a lower cost, she added.
Since these are being sold in local outlets and delivered to clients, the VFFI plans to increase the production, Señires said.
VFFI plans to expand its production with a training and marketing center at the former Women’s Crisis Center at the Philippine National Police provincial office in Sibulan town, he added.
Among those patronizing the products of SUMAPI-VFFI are the St. Paul University of Dumaguete, a sugar milling company, a grocery store and a shop selling household wares.
The group also signed an agreement with the Rotary Club of Dumaguete South to help with its livelihood program, Señires said.*JFP
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