1. Kuya Amado
Meet Kuya Amado (Kuya means big brother in Tagalog), one of our AKABA Ltd. Design Co. bag makers from Ilocos Norte, Philippines. He's also the locally elected leader of his community, a village called GK Namnama, made up of displaced families.
As President of the community, he doesn't receive a salary, but he wanted to become a leader because he wanted to serve others.
"When we started here in 2000, there was really nothing here for us. We wanted our own homes, but even if we had homes, the land wasn't really ours because it's owned by the city ... I'm thankful to the AKABA team for having chosen to work with us. When they first came and they were training us how to weave, it was really challenging. But we were happy to have the opportunity because none of us finished school, we couldn't find work - we didn't have many opportunities. AKABA gave us the opportunity to learn and to study something, so I love the work."
2. Nanay Mary Jane
Nanay Mary Jane is one of the original beneficiaries of AKABA’s loom weaving training program back in 2014. Since then, she has become a key partner in preserving the art of Ilocano loom weaving, and teaching the technique to the younger generation.
“We are all thankful for the people behind AKABA. Before they came here, we did not have stable jobs, or know anything aside from cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. When we started weaving, it was really difficult for me, but now, after three years, I am making beautiful and intricate patterns like a master weaver.”
Today, she helps in training young adults in learning the craft and is on her own way to become a master weaver herself.
3. Nanay Liwayway
Back in 2014, Nanay Liwayway would take all sorts of odd jobs to make ends’ meet for herself, and her family of six. Frail, and at the time, considered undernourished, she had difficulties in finding a job that wouldn’t compromise her fragile health.
Liway recalls: “I remember, back then, I have never been to a hospital, and I would hear only bad things about doctors, and that they would take advantage of you, and getting treated will cost a fortune. I told them [AKABA] that I would rather buy a casket, because it is cheaper, than go to a hospital.”
As an AKABA weaver, Liway enjoys the full benefits of employment, such as a fair and equitable income, access to healthcare services, a social security plan, and financial assistance for the education of her children. She has since had herself treated of her chronic illnesses, and bring her children to the government hospital for regular check-ups.
After joining AKABA’s weaving education and training program, she has been able to secure and provide for adequate income, food, and healthcare services for her family.
Today marks the start of #FashionRevolutionWeek, a global movement to increase transparency and ethical standards within the fashion industry. All week we're sharing stories of our makers to answer the question #whomademyclothes. Want to participate?