THE Swiss Embassy in Manila, in partnership with SM Supermalls and the Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran (SPARK Philippines), recently banded together for a solidarity-action effort amid the ongoing pandemic.
Started by the Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines in 2020, “Angels for Angels” is geared toward women empowerment, livelihood, and nutrition. Now in its second year, the effort continues to work with various women-communities around the country to produce sustainable Christmas ornaments.
“We wanted to build on the experience of supporting a community, similar to our work with the Negrense Volunteers for Change ,” Ambassador Alain Gaschen shared. “ are now working with and supporting seven different communities…producing their own angels made from different sources.”
NVC is once again a beneficiary of the project, along with women-communities from Quezon City, Taguig City and Pasig City, as well as Cebu province and the Bicol Region, plus HABI, or the Philippine Textile Council. Each community, aside from having its own kind of “angels” made from their native materials, also has a unique identity that brings its members together.
For one, 75 persons deprived of liberty from the Quezon City Female Jail Dorm worked together to craft beautiful angels using red eco bag cloths, black garters, cardboards, silver metallic foils and gold glitters. Each is priced at P100.
“More than showcasing the creativity and skill of these communities, ‘Angels for Angels’ aims to provide another source of income to their members, as proceeds from the sale of these ornaments go directly back to the producers themselves,” Gaschen explained. “Now more than ever, we have seen the pandemic can affect jobs and livelihoods; thus, for some, this effort serves as sort of a lifeline.”
He added that funds raised by the action will also help finance children’s nutrition projects by World Vision. SPARK Phils. is likewise a vital partner of the embassy in mounting this effort, having connected the organizations to the Swiss representation.
“We can all agree that 2021 has challenging and unpredictable, more so for women who bore the brunt of the pandemic. This holiday season is a time to provide women and children in need an opportunity to feel the care and generosity of the community,” said SPARK Philippines Executive Director Maica Teves. “We…support the ‘Angels for Angels’ initiative, which not only reminds us to take care of our planet but at the same time, empower women.”
Sustainability is another key theme of the project, which is not only limited to the materials utilized, but also extends to the way the “angels” may be purchased by the general public. Recognizing their nationwide presence, the embassy is working with seven SM Supermalls: Megamall, Mall of Asia, Aura, The Podium, Seaside City, and Lanang Premier to help make the craftworks more accessible. Ornaments made by the community closest to the mall are also brought closer to interested buyers who can use SM’s “Call to Deliver” platform to purchase the beautiful creations.
Angels may also be bought online via Lazada, but the final design to be delivered to buyers will be random in design to evenly distribute all the ornaments produced by the women-communities.
Gaschen concluded that “Angels for Angels” is envisioned to be a source of hope in these unclear times: “Solidarity has always been a Swiss value that we continue to embody, and we hope that this undertaking could serve as a bright light to those who need it this Christmas season.”