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TELUS International Philippines making a difference with Charity First’s Life in a Bag Program

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Manila, Philippines—Every Friday, TELUS International Philippines (TIP) gives treat bags to team members who deserve some recognition for a job well done. Every bag given out helps lift up a local woman living in poverty through the Life in a Bag program.

Working with the Charity First Foundation for the past three years, TIP purchases these bags created by women living in poverty. Supported by the foundation and TIP, the Life in a Bag project trains women from a poor urban community to sew environmental bags with different designs and styles. When they graduate, each woman is given a high-speed sewing machine and is allowed to work from her home, on a variety of sewing jobs. TIP helps Charity First buy the high-speed sewing machines.

Women of Payatas

Esperanza Satin used to sew uniforms, bed sheets, pillow cases, and curtains when she was younger, but she didn’t have formal training then. A full-time homemaker at the time when Charity First was establishing Life in a Bag, she was one of the first women to join the association and undergo training. “Mahirap ang buhay namin dahil hindi sapat ang kinikita namin para masuportahan ang mga pangangailangan ng pamilya namin. Sumali ako sa programa dahil gusto kong makatulong sa asawa ko sa pang araw-araw na gastusin” (Every day is a struggle because we didn’t earn enough to support our families. I joined the group because I want to help my husband with our finances), recalled Satin.

Coming from the same walk of life, Nelia Benedicto is a single mother of two children. She was a household helper before she joined the livelihood program. “Noong araw, nag-apply ako bilang mananahi, pero hindi ko alam paano gamitin ang makina. Buti na lang tinuruan nila ako, dahil kung hindi, hindi ako natanggap sa training, malamang namamasukan pa din ako bilang katulong” (Years back, I applied as a sewer even if I have never touched a machine. Good thing the people in that business taught me how. If they didn’t, I would not be accepted in the training program, and I’d still be a helper) remembered Benedicto.

Satin and Benedicto are just two of the 17 women of Payatas, Quezon City who work for the Life in a Bag livelihood program.

An opportunity to welcome

Charity First’s Life in a Bag program is a livelihood project that caters to women in Payatas, Quezon City, one of the urban poor communities in Metro Manila. Satin and Benedicto recalled the opportunity came at the right place and right time.

For Satin, it was an opportunity that she welcomed with open arms. “Walang trabaho ang asawa ko noon. Nung malaman ko yung proyektong ito, sumali na ako kaagad. Mayroon akong pamilyang kailangang buhayin. Kung hindi ako kikilos, walang mangyayari. Kumakatok na ang pagkakataon sa pinto namin, hindi ako makakatanggi” (My husband didn’t have work then. When I learned of the project, I jumped on the opportunity right away. I have a family to support. If I will not make a move, nothing will happen. It is the opportunity that knocked on our door, I cannot say no), said Satin.

“Kahit na kumikita ako sa pamamasukan bilang katulong ng isang pamilya, mahirap para sa akin dahil kailangan kong iwan yung mga anak ko para mag-alaga ng anak ng ibang tao. Ang programa ng Charity First ang nagbigay sa akin ng bagong pagkakataon na makasama ang aking mga anak at makapagtrabaho. Ngayon magagampanan ko na ang pagiging isang ina sa kanila” (Though I was earning by working for a family then, it was heartbreaking for me because I had to leave my children unattended to care for somebody else’s children. The Charity First program provided me with a new opportunity to be with my children and earn a living at the same time. Now I can be a mother to them), recalled Benedicto.

Seeing greener pastures

Now both earning a living, the two women of Payatas are thankful to Charity First and TIP for helping them live better lives. “Ang orders ng TIP ang pinakamalalaking orders namin. Sana tuloy-tuloy ang order nila ng bags sa amin. Pakiramdam namin palaging Pasko kapag may order ang TIP” (We supply the most number of bag orders to TIP. We hope that they continue ordering bags from us. We feel like it is Christmas when we receive orders from TIP), stated Benedicto.

“Malaki ang naitulong sa amin ng TIP para makarating sa kinatatayuan namin ngayon. Kung wala silang orders, wala kami sigurong mga makina ngayon. Malaki talaga ang naitutulong ng TIP sa aming programa” (TIP helped us get to where we are now. Without their big orders, we would not have our own machines. They are a big help to our program), said Satin.

Through TIP’s bulk orders, the company was able to fund Charity First’s purchase of high-speed sewing machines that were awarded to graduates of the livelihood program.

The two women and 15 others are now on their way to a better tomorrow. Though still living in Payatas, making both ends meet is not a struggle anymore. They now earn enough to support their daily needs, and some wants—if the budget permits.

The lives of these two women are just two of the many that TIP touched and made a difference with. TIP, with its commitment to CSR, is ensuring it has a significant and positive impact on the lives of more individuals like Satin and Benedicto.

About TELUS International Philippines, Inc.
TELUS International Philippines, Inc. is a leading Philippine-based provider of contact center and business process outsourcing solutions. It is a subsidiary of TELUS Communications, a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, with $9.9 billion of annual revenue and 12.3 million customer connections including 7 million wireless subscribers, 3.7 million wireline network access lines, and 1.2 million Internet subscribers. For more information about TELUS International, please visit telusinternational.com.