Since 1999, the Rurungan Foundation tripled its number of weavers, operate and manage seven affiliated community-weaving centers, sustain a pool of skilled trainers, and support close to 100 side-industry stakeholders (for raw materials).
The project continues to become an agent of change, stimulating the non-farm growth in the rural areas of Palawan and presenting new opportunities where once the people’s only recourse was either through farming or fishing.
Increased Skills and Productivity
With time, weavers’ skills have dramatically increased making their current daily output 3 times what it used to be when they first started. They have learned to plan and schedule production cycles and are able to identify potential problems in design and make suggestions towards design viability.
Innovation and Product Variety
Since 2000, weavers have learned to combine the piña fiber with a much more delicate silk thread that produces a much finer fabric (piña seda), which has been branded as Tepiña. Other innovations are: coloring and dyeing threads and fibers to combine with the natural ecru color of the piña fiber, using batik (use of wax and colored dye) dyeing techniques, combining the weave with a bynica technique, and inserting other fibers such as abaca or grass into the cloth. Insertion creates different fabric weights, more interesting textures, and yields design patterns that are intrinsic to the weave.
Pioneering an Industry
Aside from producing a variety of piña fabrics, the women now produce livelihoods for other women as demand has been created for finished products that are made of various types of piña cloth. Women sewers produce a variety of fashionable products (shawls, scarves, bags and clothing), home accessories (placemats, table runners and screens) and items for specialty markets (batik, hand-painted fabric).
Other Achievements of the Foundation
- Received the Stockholm Challenge Award 2006
- Received the Mayor’s Award of Puerto Princesa, Palawan
- Established a total of seven working weaving centers in strategic locations in Puerto Princesa City and one in Aborlan. The Foundation provides them with building materials and startup weaving equipment (looms, reeds, heddle thread, warping wheels, shuttles)
- Conducted trainings on basic and advanced weaving in all its centers.
- Conducted trainings on fiber extraction, processing and replanting in numerous communities around Palawan.
- Facilitated as part of its over-all strategy the identification and training of women leaders in each community centers to promote management and entrepreneurial skills.
- Maintains partnership with close to 60 regular weavers and 100 regular processors (scrappers and knotters) who earn regular income from weaving.
- Forged strong partnership with various LGU’s, NGO’s and the academe in Palawan for the propagation of endemic fibers such as piña and abaca.
- Set a up a show room in Manila