Handbags of Hope from the Philippines
At one point the Philippines had the dubious honor of having the world’s largest garbage dump, known as Manila’s Smokey Mountain. People with no other choice in life found themselves scavenging for recyclable bottles from the dump to make ends meet. As Smokey Mountain became an infamous symbol of Asian poverty, the President of the Philippines provided seed funding for microfinance loans to over 2,000 women in two years. The local Catholic parish overseeing the loans created a cooperative to produce beautiful hand-crafted goods. What they produce are more than just handbags. They are unique, earth-loving pieces of artwork. And they represent hope for women building better lives for their families.