Its About Time We See The Invisible Sisters

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Inspired living for us isn’t limited to decorating your space with beautiful things, or throwing a great party. It isn’t just about that great cup on a perfect quiet morning. More than anything, inspired living is about surrounding yourself with incredible human beings and learning from men, women and children who go the extra mile to make things better for the people around them. As long time supporters of businesses that give back, we’re always thrilled to learn about the organizations that they partner with and the people behind them. Through Kultura’s Crafts For A Cause, we discovered the wonderful Invisible Sisters.

The Invisible Sisters was founded by Ann Wizer 10 years ago at her home in Manila. She felt the need to address the country’s ongoing poverty and growing waste management problem by reaching out to urban poor mothers and grandmothers and teaching them the skills to create their own sustainable living. By using materials that would normally end up in landfill- plastic bags, discarded computer wires and ribbons from cassette tapes, the women produce useful  everyday items using age-old skills such as knitting and crocheting. Through this, the organization aims to reduce waste, reduce poverty, and spread education through training while producing beautiful, export quality pieces.

We spent one morning with some of these wonderful women and got to witness first hand the heart warming camaraderie, sense of community and unbelievable hard work that these ladies put into their craft. We also learned a few life lessons that we’d like to share here:

Everyone is valuable and welcome. 

There is no age limit when it comes to being a part of the organization nor are differently abled people turned away. If you’re willing to work, you are more than welcome to join.

Ms. Fe is legally deaf a condition which would hamper her from working for other establishments, is not an issue with the Invisible Sisters.

Learn to take pride in what you do.

These women work hard, work well and are proud of what they do. More often than not, as women, we tend to play down our successes and achievements. The Invisible Sisters not only embrace them but make damn sure that people know their work. They bring their families to Kultura and gladly show them the products that they created on display.

Ms. Manolita working on a vanity pouch, one of their best-selling products.

Ms. Edilyn working on a tote bag. One of the hardest and most labor intensive pieces from the collection. The art of crocheting was passed on to her from her mother. Sadly her children have no interest in taking up the craft.

It takes a village.

As mothers, we know that we can’t raise children on our own and at the same time, we all need our network of friends to keep us sane. These women are exactly the same. Whether they’re working side by side while bonding over a telenovela or simply chatting and knitting over shared snacks, the Invisible Sisters lean on each other for support.

The lovely ladies of Invisible Sisters

Ms. Emily measuring her tote to make sure it is up to standards.

Work is good for the soul.

Aside from the monetary gains, what the Invisible Sisters treasure more than anything is the sense of self-worth that they get from doing something that they love. Having been raised with the mentality that women who were relegated to staying home and taking care of children were not contributing to the family, discovering their talents, honing their crafts and displaying their creativity has helped raise their self-esteem and confidence.

Ms. Elena, also working on a tote after finishing her batch of balls and hearts that will be used for keychains.

Ms. Feliza finishing a multi-colored wristlet.

Crafts are slowly dying and its up to us to make sure they go on. 

As we’ve seen first hand while traveling all over Asia, crafts that have been past on from generation to generation are rapidly disappearing. It is a devastating reality that we as Filipino citizens can still have control over. If we show that there is still a demand for these products by supporting our local artisans, then the next generation may decide to go on. Therefore preserving pieces of our heritage for years to come.

Keychains, coin purses, pouches and wristlets all made from recycled plastic bags.

A fun and quirky watermelon coin purse waiting to be sent to another work space for finishing touches.

We’d like to invite you to support and see the work of our talented friends from Invisible Sisters as they display their products as well as showcase how they literally transform trash into treasure one discarded sando bag at a time at Kultura’s Crafts for A Cause happening now through Sunday October 7 at SM Mega Fashion Hall.

You can also find their products at Kultura Stores.

Together with the amazing and inspiring Invisible Sisters.

 

Photographed by: Charlene Panutat-Carlos