I've been invited to an interesting event recently. Rags2Riches has reached another milestone together with AirAsia - R2R received the first ever grant of the AirAsia Foundation. It will be used to fund the training of new artisans, empower their communities and improve their skills in making eco bags and accessories made from upcycled scrap cloth, indigenous fabrics and organic materials. I love hearing about Pinoy social enterprises. Below are a few of the R2R "nanays" or artisans I chatted with. They told me that making R2R products has improved their lives significantly.
R2R Nanays I talked with:
N' Malou, N' Cynthia, N' Jona, N' Tina, N' Donna, N' Edna, N' Zeny
An AirAsia representative from Malaysia, AirAsia Philippines CEO Marianne Hontiveros, Atty. Katrina Legarda of the AirAsia Foundation and Rags2Riches Inc. Founder and CEO Reese Fernandez-Ruiz were there
as well as the actual artesans and makers of the R2R products. The $13275 grant will surely go a long, long way and improve the lives of many more.
Scrap cloth was transformed before us in just a few hours. I think it will take a newbie like me months to get over the confusion haha.
There's so much love and labor put into this by hand.
Now, there are "tatays" also doing this in some R2R workshops.
The once-useless pieces of cloth have transformed into rugs,
pillows, decorative pieces
bags, purses, wallets and many more! Proudly Pinoy-made.
As part of the grant, this Pinoy enterprise will also get access to ASEAN markets serviced by AirAsia flights. Two bags exclusively designed for AirAsia will be sold onboard the AirAsia Megastore starting this month. 30% of the proceeds of this sale will be donated to the AirAsia Foundation. I got to try out this Foldable Beach Bag (P770, comes in blue, 41.5cmx29cmx13cm) for my latest Boracay trip. It's pretty big (good for groceries) although I would prefer it to have a zipper or more buttons to close it up. I was kinda iffy to put it on the overhead compartment with all my loose small things open. For big items though like your onboard shopping, light grocery shopping and beach towels, it's good. Having these bags are also a great conversation piece.
I saw this Wristlet (P550, available in blue, 23cmx15cmx5cm) and it's quite nice. Has a handle to for easier handling. Phones, passports, folded wallets and makeup can fit here. It's interesting to note that there's a piece of card inside these items that tells you who made it. Your bag has a story and somewhere in the Philippines, someone hand-made it for you. Wouldn't you want to find who did it? =)