Beadweaving has been known as the embodiment of the luxuriant culture of Maranao which carries vibrant stories of their identity.
Attaching seed beads or sequins together using thread, beadworks manifest the sophistication and hard work of Maranaos.
Beadworks are used as a design for ampas (tray cloths) and mamandiang (a special Maranao wedding fabric), some of the well-known Maranao decorations.
Bridging livelihood opportunities
With the langkit (handloom) equipment and sewing machine starter kit from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) Bangon Marawi Project, a cooperative in Marawi City has started to help unemployed women by giving a livelihood opportunity through beadworks.
Named Raheemah Peace Weavers Producer Cooperative, it facilitates opportunities to vulnerable women and youth to pave the way towards peace in the conflict-affected areas in the city and Lanao del Sur.
Due to the coronavirus disease pandemic, Raheemah shifted to another strategy that will give economic activities to its target beneficiaries. Raheemah coordinated with women who are engaged in producing Maranao decorations in Barangay Rogiro, Municipality of Bubong; Municipality of Tugaya; and Caloocan East in Marawi City.
Beadworks towards success
Omerah Dadayan of Barangay Calocan East, one of the women beneficiaries producing beadworks, shared that she used to sell street food in the market before the siege broke out on May 23, 2017.
She also said that after the siege, they started farming. However, she shared that it cannot sustain their necessities.
“If we do not have work in our garden, this is what we do for us to get out of poverty because there is no assurance in working as a farmer. This is an addition to our source of income,” said Omerah.
She thanked DTI and Raheema for giving them something to do during their free time.
“We are thankful to DTI and Raheema because we were given a livelihood opportunity because we don’t have much things to do at home. We now have a job so that will not be stressed out. During our free time, we have something productive to do and that it will not be put into waste,” she added.
Meanwhile, Saraminah Macapanton Tawakal, leader of Women’s Rogiro Ladies Mamandiang, Bubong, Lanao del Sur, shared how DTI helped them.
“During the Marawi siege, DTI tended to help out organizations or cooperatives, that is where we started as a cooperative. We were then linked to Raheemah. Then we received the materials,” she said.
Saraminah paved the way for building an opportunity for her fellow women.
“I talked to women who are unemployed. I do this to help. I help those who do not do anything, those who are unemployed, solo parents who have no one to depend on, those separated,” she said.
Normala Ali Akbar also shared how Saraminah coordinated with them.
“Alhamdulillah because Saraminah saw us gossiping, having no job so she called us. We then decided that we are willing to do the work as she planned. We somehow had a source of income even though we are just at home.
Weaving beads of perseverance towards success
The women beneficiaries emphasized the significance of persistence and perseverance towards success.
“To those women who do not have a job, and to those whose livelihood has been affected due to the Marawi siege, you should find ways that you will have another source of income for your family,” said Omerah.
“You must find ways so that you will have your own livelihood because there are so many kinds of livelihood that are not difficult,” she added.
Meanwhile, Saraminah cited how persistence can pave the way for success.
“When you are persistent, you will achieve all your wants and of your children. Do well in your job, do it properly so that it will be helpful for you and your family,” she said.
Protecting Maranao’s identity
Normala shared that she hopes that their business will expand and grow. She also said that the beadworks symbolize the identity of Maranao which carries vibrant stories.
“This kind of production symbolizes the identity of Maranao so this should not vanish. Because if it will vanish, the culture will also be gone. One will not be called a Maranao without this. Thus, we have to preserve it and develop it,” said Normala.
Indeed, the bead production does not only provide livelihood opportunities to the women but also contributes to the promotion of the tradition and culture of Maranao. (Lou Ellen Antonio, PIA)
Top photo: Some of the beadworks of crafted by women beneficiaries of Department of Trade and Industry and Raheemah Peace Weavers Producer Cooperative. (PIA ICIC)