I promote self love and empowerment daily, but in honor of International Women's Day, I made it a priority to mention that we all need to support one another. However, it seems that some people try to bring strong women down. Every day women entrepreneurs are silenced and remain unrecognized. On this day and all days, let's empower one another. Supporting other women and being happy for someone else's success won't make you any less successful.
Last Monday, SM Cares in partnership with the Australian Embassy, launched "Women Entrepreneurs: Building Stronger Communities", a trade fair and exhibit in celebration of International Women's Day and National Women's Month.
The exhibit and trade fair was held last March 7-10, 2016 at the 1st level Atrium of SM Aura Premier. Celebrating the achievements of Filipino women entrepreneurs, the trade fair showcased products from 11 women-led businesses supported by the Australian Aid Program (the Direct Aid Program, the Philippine Australia Community Assistance Program and Australian Volunteers for International Development).
As my way of supporting and becoming a part of this advocacy, I shopped for myself and my fellow women micro-entrepreneurs - mothers, daughters, sisters, making a real difference in improving their lives of their families and their communities. Actually, I'm still in the spirit of celebrating #IWD2016 and grateful to have had this opportunity to share this advocacy to women everywhere regardless of color, religion, sexuality, or what sex you were born with.
I believe that when given the right support, women micro-entrepreneurs can achieve for themselves and for others. More importantly, we can build stronger communities when we purchase their products. If you're a guy, you'll be amazed at what these women can do.
Here are the exhibitors combining philanthropy and fashion in support of women entrepreneurs;
- Antique Development Foundation
Women from Antique manufacture beautiful handmade bags, scarves and other items for ladies to earn income for their families. They weave their own fabric on manually operated looms.
The women learned from their grandmothers to weave intricate patterns although the art of loom weaving is fast fading in Antique. With a little help, the artisans of Antique are building a better future and stronger communities.
- Caritas Manila
I am amazed how women from Caritas Manila turn used tetra packs and tarpaulin banners into consumer products such as bags and household accessories.
Australia's aid investment helped start the Caritas Margins project to provide employment to women from Tondo, Manila. Caritas Margins also strengthened its social enterprise brand and expanded to food processing with reasonably priced nutritious meals including gourmet tuyo, moringa noodles, pickled papaya and banana chips.
- Gifts and Graces Fair Trade Foundation Incorporated
G&G is a fair trade social enterprise with a vision of providing livelihood opportunities for women. It empowers women-led micro enterprises by providing design, production and marketing tools. The Australian government invested in G&G through the deployment of an expert business volunteer to help implement global manufacturing standards and practices.
- Green Earth Heritage Foundation Philippines
Australia's investment helped Green Earth Heritage Foundation purchase processing equipment for improved production and better income for the women and their families.
- Handicraft of Aklan Multi-Purpose Cooperative
Australia invested in women artisans in Aklan who weave indigenous materials such as pina and abaca into beautiful woven products. The investment has yielded increased income for women and allowed them to better provide for their families.
- Katungod han Samarena Foundation Incorporated
I love the beautiful colorful mats, bags, hats, slippers made by women weavers of Basey. Through assistance from Australian government, they are helping their community rise up from the devastation of Yolanda. They have upgraded their skills and learned to use new technologies to improve the quality of their products.
- Lake Sebu Indigenous Women Weavers Association Incorporated
The dreamweavers of Cotabato are preserving the tradition and have improved their economic conditions through a series of funding from Australian Embassy. A t'nalak dyeing center was established and the cultural products are now produced in large quantities.
- Philippine Christian Foundation
PCF runs a livelihood project for mothers using rusbbish materials wherein glossy magazines and leaflets are made into beads for necklaces, bracelets, earrings and household items. Recycled juice packs and tarpaulin posters are turned into shopping bags, pencil cases and aprons. The women gained more than just income, they regained their dignity and hope for a better life.
- Philippine Foundation for Resources Management
The intricately-designed handloom woven products made by Maranao artisans were some of the crafted things that left me in awe. Australia's support not only preserved Maranao culture and revitalized the craft of handloom weaving, but also provided women from Dayawan with a steady source of income.
- Simbag sa Pag-Asenso Incorporated
Australian Embassy's Direct Aid Program invested in SEDP to conduct extensive repairs and fund the expansion of the mat weaving workshop facility in Bicol. Australia supports women entrepreneurs in providing training in order to produce natural and eco-friendly products like woven mat or banig.
- Southern Partners and Fair Trade Center Incorporated
By becoming micro-entrepreneurs, women also became economically empowered. With the goal of women empowerment, fair trade advocacy and sustainability, the Australian Embassy is committed to promoting gender equality and investing in women-led micro, small and medium enterprises across the Philippines. SM Cares provides women entrepreneurs with a premium platform to showcase their creativity, resourcefulness and business acumen.
Let's celebrate the craftsmanship and creativity of women entrepreneurs. Every purchase is an investment in building communities. Be part of it.
For more information, like SM Cares on Facebook:
#SupportingCommunities #SMCares #Australian EmbassyPhilippines #IWD2016