Unity, cooperation sustain Itogon’s weaving livelihood group
ITOGON, Benguet, Dec. 23– The Golden Livelihood Association in Poblacion is one inspiring story of being able to rise again and rekindle interest in the weaving craft utilizing the fabric produced and sewn into an array of products.
The association’s endeavor may not be that profitable yet but the unity and cooperation among the members bond them and keep them going. This is coupled with the support of concerned agencies, the municipal and provincial governments and those who patronize their products.
Milagros Fermin, the association president, is grateful for the unity and cooperation of members which has kept them together with the Divine Providence’s intervention despite the struggles that have beset them through the years especially during the COVID pandemic.
Some of the group members do the weaving while the sewing of the woven fabric turn them into an array of products such as bags, pouches, purse, apparels, masks, decors, throw pillows, foot rugs and caps.
The two-storey shop where they do the craft is quite small. It was originally built out of galvanized iron and later improved into a concrete structure through the municipal local government’s resources. The lot was donated by Carmencita Wakit, one of the members.
“Our first output was a blanket when a certain Mrs. Bugnosen came to teach us how to make wall décor, foot rug, throw pillow,” said Wakit.
In 2006, they were trained to weave cloth but due to limited stocks of thread with the surge of prices due to low supply, they decided to stop because it will not pay off even their labor if they pursued, said Wakit.
On July 16, 2013, the association regrouped and rekindled their interest. This they attributed to the Department of Trade and Industry’s grant of some units of sewing machines under the Shared Service Facility livelihood assistance which seeks to improve productivity and efficiency of small enterprises.
They also changed the group’s name into Golden Livelihood Association dividing the group into weavers and sewers.
Through the DTI and the Department of Agriculture, their products are being displayed in trade fairs like the Adivay Festival and also that in Abra.
Though they are being patronized by the community and schools in the locality, market outlets are still wanting, according to Fermin. They want their products to reach other areas.
This year, the Itogon Negosyo Center provided basic training for the maintenance of the sewing machines so they know how to do simple repairs if something goes wrong. They were also trained on embroidery to enhance their finished products.
NC Business Counsellor Lydia Alhambra of DTI said their office is also training the association members on book keeping.
Last December 16, the provincial government provided two units of weaving looms through the efforts of Councilor Clint Galutan. He hopes that the group will have more members to learn about the craft.
Wakit said they need to train other members who really have the passion and dedication for the venture to prosper. They also need high-end sewing machines to improve their craft.**JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet