Maripipi Crafters Association

Original students of doll making Members of MPM working the dolls Members of MPM Members of MPM
Pottery Yolanda' House Nieves House Naida's House

Maripipi Crafters Association is a non-profit organization located in the village of Binalayan, Maripipi, a poor mountainous island in the central part of the Philippines, not far from where Typhoon Haiyan hit in 2013.

Up until the 1950’s the village prospered with pottery industry made in the island and sold throughout the archipelago. Alas, with the rise of plastics and aluminum replacing pots for cooking and water container, it died out. With no jobs, the villagers are pushed to poverty, some eat only once a day. Those who have stable life are the government employee like teachers, midwives, municipal employee, coconut owners, merchants, those lucky to work in the big city or outside of the country  and their dependents; the rest of the population can hardly make both ends meet.

Just some of the dolls that we make.
Just some of the dolls that we make.

Binalayan  has a complete elementary education. A few will attempt to go to the high school. Many will drop out of school to help the family. Few will go to college but many will not finish college because of a lack of finances. Majority will look for greener pasture in the big cities. Without skills, the only job they can find is housekeeping, vendors, maid, babysitter, a driver or a helper. They live in overcrowded shanties. In the city they meet the same social class and marry thus repeating the same mistake that their parents made. Some come back to the province and bear many children who they can not afford to feed or send to school. Those who are left behind in the island marry very young and bear many children who live in hand to mouth existence thus repeating the cycle.

In 1997 after retiring from my nursing career I decided to go back to the island. In Manila I was met by the governor of the province. He discussed what he wanted to do to help the island but to do this he needed my help. “No one else can do this but you” he said. I organized the Maripipi Crafters Association. It is an organization to help the poor help themselves. With no funds in sight it has been an uphill struggle but we are determined to succeed. Below are its goals.

  • To improve the welfare of the community, through improvement of one’s physical and financial well-being.
  • To give dignity to the individual by teaching skills for livelihood projects and training for a responsible citizenry.
  • To show that justice is blind and that it be meted out impartially.
  • To preserve and protect our environment. We are caretakers of God’s creation and by harming mother nature we harm ourselves.