PWDs in Iloilo make crayons out of fruits, veggies
MANILA, Philippines – A small business venture has brought color to the lives of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in New Lucena, Iloilo.
Members of a group called PWD Association of New Lucena Iloilo (PWD ANLI), through the help of a Japanese volunteer, were able to turn themselves into entrepreneurs.
Shinnosuke Amano, an economics graduate of Tokyo Metropolitan University and a volunteer of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has been teaching the 26 members of the group how to make crayons from natural ingredients such as fruits and vegetables.
They train in Amano's small apartment, melting the ingredients in a boiler to extract the pigments that will be molded into crayons and packaged in boxes.
Each box contains 10 crayons of different colors extracted from pigments of papaya, santan flower, dragon fruit, tamarind, bitter gourd, mango, carrot, purple yam, and bamboo. These are shipped to Japan and marketed there.
The packaging bears the quote, "Life is not easy but through prayers, wishes can come true," which pretty much sums up the motivation of the PWDs creating the crayons.
"This is a new skill for us, but we are grateful to [Amano] for introducing this form of livelihood to us. Some of us cannot leave the house because of disabilities and crayon making is something that they can do in their home," PWD ANLI president Grace Servas said.
Amano, who is overwhelmed by the success of his initiative, said he wants to expand it further by seeking support from Japanese crayon manufacturers.
He also wants to train more people from New Lucena so they can benefit from crayon making.
"I thought that by being a Japanese volunteer, I will teach the community with skills. But, I realized, the community sometimes already possesses the skills and ideas. I'm just here to help them realize those ideas," said Amano. – Rappler.com