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CCanadian International Development Agency ICanadian International Development Agency DCanadian International Development Agency A
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Alayon Papel Join NTF 2000

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Luming Craft Poised for NTF
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Trade Fairs Participation
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Alayon Papel Joins NTF 2000

          Alayon Papel is an association of eleven (11) regular workers who manage a business enterprise making handmade paper and paper-based products such as boxes, bags, lamp shades, stationeries, greeting cards and Christmas decors. In February 2000, Alayon Papel joins other subcontractors at the National Trade Fair (NTF) in Manila. As a first-time, the exhibitors are looking forward to meeting new buyers, learning from the experience and taking in more challenges. Lydia Co, Secretary and a pioneering member of Alayon Papel never expected a dream come true for a group like thisÖ

          Four years ago, a group of lay missionaries from Spain formed an organization called Lihuk Panaghiusa (United Action). Lihuk Panaghiusa saw the need for economic projects and organized eleven (11) people to join a workshop on making greeting cards made of paper and indigenous materials. The group came to be known as Alayon Papel and taken under the wing of Lihuk Panaghiusa. Alayon Papel pursued a livelihood project making greeting cards out of handmade paper and indigenous materials which were exported to Spain. The same group participated a workshop on handmade paper-making and gradually developed skills on the product. Other handmade paper- based items were produced to include boxes, bags, lamp shades, stationery and Christmas decors. In 1997, after joining a Market Fair at SM, Cebu there were inquiries from the domestic market and Alayon Papel headed for production. Their buyers include Freedom Handicraft and Ciara Lee. Other than this, Alayon Papel was also catering to foreign markets in Spain and the US.

          According to Romy Pura, Alayon Papelís Manager for about a year now, "The most challenging part of the business is marketing and product development. We have to be resourceful. Where do we sell the product? And we constantly take risks." At present, Alayon Papel has eleven (11) members with forty (40) piece-workers. The workersí ages range from 18 to 80 years old. One of Alayon Papelís principle is to employ people who have the ability to produce regardless of age. While the production flow is basically manual (i.e. 90% manual and 10% mechanized), there are high hopes of improving productivity with the plan to purchase more equipment and machines. With its present facilities, Alayon Papel is capable of producing some 17,500 pieces of specialized boxes with compartments, sinamay windows and sinamay covers within two (2) months. Production processes and flow depend on the items produced. For example, handmade paper are produced by on-call workers who cook the product twice or thrice a week. For boxes, production flow is the assembly line scheme (i.e. cutting and assembling) proceeding to quality control and packaging. The same holds true for bags, greeting cards and Christmas decors.

          There are many aspects that Alayon Papel would like to master on, such as the application of the 5S of Good Housekeeping. It also looks forward to the purchase of basic equipment such as a paper folding machine, a glue applicator and a paper cutter. At the moment, the cutting machine is capable of producing 700 boxes or 12,000 boxes each month. It does not intend to become fully mechanized because as an association, one of its aims is to constantly grow and employ additional people. While its first year of business was funded by Lihuk Panaghiusa, by 1999 Alayon Papel broke loose from tradition. It is now operating based on the returns generated by the business enterprise and wants to sustain the same arrangements in the future. Lihuk Panaghiusa is currently busy with other services such as a scholarship program, a feeding project for children and a micro-credit project. Indeed, Alayon Papel has made a tremendous leap in four (4) years. As Lydia Co would say, "Wa gyud ko mag-expect nga maingon ani." Yes, there were birth pains, but Alayon Papel has become independent.

          In the classic tradition of promotion, check out Alayon Papelís products at the NTF on February 2000. For sure, each item is a labor from one member who learned and got employed along the way and will continue to do so with your purchase order.


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