Meet Malou T.

 

“Making jewelry is therapeutic for me. Just like there are many different colors of beads on jewelry, I have gone through many things and many trials, but God has helped me to learn how to accept them.

“I feel good when others buy what I make because it comes from my heart and I worked hard to make them. When others purchase them, they inspire me and my co-trainees to change because it truly helps us a lot with our needs.”

  • A little bit about Malou’s past:

Malou lived in poverty. Her mother had no regular work and attempted to sell fruit — mangoes — which were prevalent everywhere. Because of the lack of income, Malou’s mother could not afford to send her to school and so instead Malou, at the age of 16, began to work as a waitress at a restaurant in Quezon City. Little did she know that the restaurant became a bar at night. She was soon requested to fill in for bar girls who were absent. This continued until she became a regular bar girl, as she was tempted with the increase in “wages”. Working in the bar meant that Malou was forced to drink liquor and she was soon expected to serve men in an undignified manner. Her mother didn’t know what her daughter was doing as Malou exclaimed that she was working overtime.

  • How she got started in this livelihood project:

After 5 months, Malou grew sick of undignified work and a good friend introduced her to an organization for Filipino women caught in prostitution. She became a regular trainee at the centre and later became one of the leaders. She was able to participate in the jewelry livelihood project in partnership with Work of Your Hand International Development. There, Malou was able to learn a new skill and help support herself through making beautiful jewelry.

  • August 2012 Update:

Malou is a sweet, caring and gentle person. We met Malou for the first time on this trip. We found out that she is one of the Servant Leaders on the jewelry project and so does not make necklaces, bracelets or earrings, but instead prepares, designs and checks pieces that were made by others. She is fortunate in that she only participated in undignified work for 5 months and so has become fairly well adjusted. She is happily married with children. The previous years we had visited the organization, we were not able to meet her because she was pregnant.