Women survivors of Yolanda, Marawi siege weave masks of hope

Seeking to inspire hope for the future in their communities by rewriting the disaster-victim narrative, Maranao weavers and Tacloban seamstresses have banded together to create the Kadasig reusable face masks to revive the local fabric and clothing industry.

This was made possible through a partnership between Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI) and ECHOsi Foundation Inc., each with their own community-driven livelihood development programs for the women of Tacloban and Marawi respectively.

These two women’s groups have been brought together to produce an essential item in these challenging times: the Kadasig reusable face mask that helps reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and infection.

“Kadasig, which means resilient in Waray-Waray, is not only about celebrating the heritage of our indigenous fabric but the tangible output of their fortitude,” said PSFI Executive Director Sebastian Quiniones Jr.

“Instead of the tragedies that have come to define them, they can once again express their hopes and dreams, one thread and stitch at a time,” he added

Designed based on the guidelines released by the World Health Organization for non-medical face masks, the Kadasig face mask is made up of three layers using a combination of absorbent and non-absorbent materials to ensure full protection.

The unique weave on the outer layer was made by the Maranao weavers using a traditional backstrap loom.

More than generating needed income, the Maranao women also seek to revive the weaving tradition, which is an important part of their culture.

“Our hope is that our culture will be known, not just here in the Philippines, but all over the world,” said Rahma Abad, one of the Maranao weavers.

The Maranao weave, in turn, is used by the seamstresses of Tacloban, who cut, sew, and structure the traditional fabric into the final Kadasig face mask.

“I have been sewing for 19 years. I sew many different kinds of things, like dresses, blouses, pants, uniforms, PPEs, masks, and many others. Our happiness is beyond words, knowing that we are able to make masks from weaves of Marawi,” said Rosalia Ramirez, the head of the Tacloban seamstress group.

The Kadasig reusable face masks are now available for purchase on the ECHOstore website:

Topics: Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc , ECHOsi Foundation Inc , ECHostore , World Health Organization , Sebastian Quiniones Jr
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