My name is Nilda del Panos and I am 61 years old. I live in Mandaluyong City, one of the 16 cities that together form Metro Manila. Because I am a Community Development overseer I am able to help the people in a warm and sincere way.
I work for a ministry that is called Bukang Liwayway, which means Dawn for the poor. One of the activities we do in the slums where we work is running a Livelihood center. Through this center for underprivileged families we employ the poor mothers from the slums. In the livelihood center can sew and receive a salary based on an hourly rate or piece rate. The products they are sewing are sold. From these materials and salaries are paid. The remaining profits are supporting other branches of the organization.
Before I got to know the MBC the livelihood center was not running very well. Through the trainings of the MBC we learned to make our livelihood more successful. What I have learned in particular from the MBC, is that they approach our livelihood project from a business side. This is not just about running a charity. But teaching the people – bit by bit – to take care for themselves. They get sewing lessons, and we teach them to look more at what a customer wants. An important lesson learned from the training was that we are now paying more attention to the quality of the products.
Quality and presentation
For example: we made linen bags with a dyed print. We used to have little regard for the finishing touch. And sometimes the bags looked really different from each other, or the print was spotty. Now we work more precise and we perform a quality check after the bags are finished. The poor ones we take out. We also provide better presentation: a beautiful wrapping in plastic and a label makes the product way more presentable, so we have a greater chance that we sell more.
We learned this through the training of the Missional Business Center. I received personal coaching with patience and understanding of my situation. We were able to help more mothers to earn an income in our community. And because we made a profit from the products we made and sold, we could support more young people from the poor neighborhood to go to school by providing them with a scholarship. This is a positive side effect and added value!