Salay Handmade Products Industries, Incorporated (Salayhandmade) is a producer and exporter of quality handmade papers and its converted items. The company that I co-founded with my husband, Dr. Reynaldo G. Rafisura, is located in the quaint coastal town of Salay, Misamis Oriental, Philippines, where I was born. Our activities began in 1987 as a civic organization known as the People’s Economic Council (PEC). All we wanted to do was help provide livelihood opportunities for our economically disadvantaged community so we could all live honorably.
Our group was initially composed of only 10 civic-minded locals who had no formal education in either art or production; but we were all willing to innovate and survive using our talents and what resources we had. Most of all, we trusted that through God’s help we would succeed with our battle cry: Yes, the Filipino Can!
We ventured into small export activities in 1990, and since then we have been anchored in Fair Trade principles as spelled out by the World Fair Trade Organization then known as International Federation of Alternative Trade or IFAT, which we subsequently joined in 2003.
By practicing the standards of Fair Trade, especially the protection of our environment which I have upheld so dearly for love of Mother Nature, we have somehow found a niche in our ever-growing green-conscious society.
Salayhandmade cards Today, almost quite naturally, after continuous research and training in design and paper processing, Salayhandmade is contributing significantly to the development of Salay and the Philippines, and has become a source of inspiration to other entrepreneurs.
Through the art of handmade papermaking, pressed-flower designing, and its related activities, we continue to meet our nationalistic aim of a holistic development for our people.
Finally, Salayhandmade provides support to our social arms, the SHAPII Foundation whose main activity is providing scholarships to bright children from economically challenged families of the community. To me, without this, doing business comes close to being meaningless.
Salayhandmade envisions itself to be a harmonious and economically secured dynamic team who are innovators of globally competitive handmade products anchored on fair trade principles.
- To be a globally competitive company who:
- Develops, produces and markets innovative handmade products.
- Develops its workers holistically to be part of a dynamic team.
- Explores business possibilities and engages in diversification to enable it to grow and give secured income to its workers.
- Penetrates the domestic and global markets for sound business growth; and,
- Practices and advocates Fair Trade principles for a change towards stronger corporate social responsibility.
We established a foundation in year 2000. The primary aim of SHAPII Foundation is to build linkages and give scholarships to enable poor but deserving youth to pursue higher education. Formalized in 2007, its vision is as follows: We are a leading organization in an environmentally sound community anchored on Filipino values and reinforced by positive external linkages contributing to sustainable economic growth.
It has for its missions: To catalyze the holistic development of the rural communities and to enhance people’s competitiveness by bridging strong rural communities with the rest of the world through provision of relevant technological services and facilities.
Its first and main activity is the Alay-sa-Bata Program (Offering for the Children) which provides scholarships to elementary and high school students. Sometimes the offer goes on until college or university, as long as the sponsors are willing to continue giving aid. Alay-sa-Bata commits US$150 per deserving student, renewable every year until the child graduates from a 4-year secondary education. The scholarship deliberately does not intend to take all the financial responsibility from the parent as the program is conceived only as a grant-aid. It advocates the three-pronged approach: the Parents, the Government, and the Foundation are joint donors/supporters of the bright child who wants the chance to fulfill a dream.
Before acceptance into the program, each scholar goes through a three-part selection process: academic qualifying exam, personal interview, and home visit.
During the school year, scholars take part in supplemental programs organized and sponsored by the Foundation to add more substance to the local education curricula. This includes work education activities, field trips, and seminars. Scholars are also required to submit reading reports periodically.
Tourism for Peace
Another initiative of the Salay to combat climate change is to plant trees for tourism purposes. To educate the public why planting and having a forest is important to our lives and eco-system. Currently after nine-years of planting, the trees are big and are frequently visited by many selfie-generation from all over the province.
It is envisioned that this place will become a forest and a floral garden where flowers are used for the cards for export while visitors can relax with the pine trees, have a picnic with a view, relax in serenity and reconnect with nature. This is a startup project and needs more work to be done (for benches, cottages, tables, canteen, plant, garden, landscaping etc) hopefully with the help of the community, local government unit, CWB – Salay and some volunteers.