The chill in the air and the twinkling lights along busy roads signal the start of the merry season in the Philippines.
If decorating tops your to-do list, you may want to deck your halls with items that are more than just festive. SAFFY, Inc. (Social Action for Filipino Youth), an organization that creates alternate sources of livelihood for the unemployed and out-of-school youth from Manila, Pangasinan, and Cebu, offers home items, accessories, and ornaments made from local materials—and they are exported and popular in Europe, North America, and the Asia Pacific! (Read: Pinoy-made app wins international award at the 2018 NASA Space Apps Challenge)
What’s more, these simple yet captivating decor pieces also help those in need. How’s that for the true meaning of Christmas? My Pope talks to Roylene Roldan, SAFFY’s marketing coordinator, who tells us all about these crafts for a cause.
What are your most popular Christmas decorations?
Our Christmas ornaments are popular among export buyers because they are made of capiz and abacá. Foreign buyers like products made using natural materials. The capiz ornaments and abacá angels are also popular in other countries.
Who creates the ornaments you sell at SAFFY?
In the early days of the company, SAFFY assisted an organization composed of out-of-school youth. At present, we work with artisans who are skilled in their chosen craft. We help them market their products and reach customers. (Read: Smells Delish! This Online Store Sells Room Scents Inspired by Food)
What materials do SAFFY artisans use?
The artisans work with materials like abacá, capiz, wood, pandan, buri, bamboo, and coconut materials, which are popular abroad.
Where do you get the ideas and inspirations for the products you create?
The artisans usually make their own designs, but we also help in product development. We partner with other organizations or schools of design for ideas. Usually, the designs are based on the requests of buyers. (Read: Biggest Altar Mural in PH Pays Tribute to Patients, Frontliners)
How does SAFFY help the artisans aside from helping them sell their wares?
We also give them product development assistance and technical training, as well as other incentives.