Making Artisans of Hope


Crocheted Christmas decors.

As the yuletide breeze blows, people across the globe are consumed by the spirit of giving for the last month of the year. But for the women and men of Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation, devoting their time to finding creative ways to encourage people to share their blessings has become more of a lifestyle rather than just an annual custom.

NVC is a non-stock, non-profit organization established in 2010 by private citizens who believe that pooling the energies, resources, talents, and skills of individuals can bring about a better future for communities. Programs on nutrition, education, and livelihood target marginalized areas, not only by “giving them fish” but by “teaching them how to fish” as well.

The Artisans of Hope at work.

Among these programs is Artisans of Hope, which trains underprivileged members of the community and working students to create attractive, fashionable, and collectible handmade products using everyday items, even discarded objects. Continuous research is done to come up with fast-moving products to ensure a sustainable livelihood for the artisans as well as much-needed funding for NVC’s various other programs. Proceeds help feed undernourished children and victims of disasters not only in Negros Occidental but across the country.

Old Nespresso capsules converted into various Christmas ornaments.

The products that are meticulously handcrafted by artisans range from unique miniature collectibles, beautifully designed yet functional household fixtures, holiday decorations, like Christmas tree ornaments and parols, to stunning one-of-a-kind mosaic art pieces, many of which have found homes in posh subdivision houses and even shopping malls. Equally impressive is the fact that most of the base materials are from upcycled items, including broken eggshells and discarded Nespresso capsules, ensuring a minimal environmental footprint and a more sustainable trajectory.

Various earrings made from old Nespresso capsules.

NVC President Millie Kilayko, who started Artisans of Hope, had previously taken mosaic art classes from renowned Negrense artist Gigi Campos. With her knowledge, Kilayko initiates the creative process by conceptualizing the designs, passing these on to an art assistant who translates the designs into workable projects, then on to the artisans who execute the directions. Since different projects have distinct requirements, the artisans are usually trained on the job for specific skill sets.

Almost everything in the growing catalog of NVC has seen high demand, creating quite a clamor on social media. Most are often sold out immediately after they’re released to the public. They also have a wait-list for commissioned pieces by clients who have particular designs and materials in mind.  NVC serves as the sole marketing arm of Artisans of Hope, providing a variety of selling platforms, including an online gallery.

Fancy earrings fashioned out of used Nespresso capsules.

Author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek once said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”. And in the case of Artisans of Hope, being grounded on their “why” allows them to create world-class fashion pieces that appeal to the buyer. Helping feed the malnourished cannot be an excuse to buy a pair of earrings made by Artisans of Hope. The earrings themselves must be so irresistible that one must have them, and in the process, help feed the malnourished. This makes charity work sustainable. In a way, it makes us all artisans of hope.

Text By: Mayumi Espina
Photos By: Unit A Creatives

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