Friday, March 18, 2022

Light the Life Candles 2022

by Sun Hee Kim

Like many projects and even businesses, Light the Life Candles project faced a big challenge during the Covid pandemic. The mothers were forced to stop working when the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was implemented by the government. They had to stay at home without any income and their husbands were not much different. They had no choice but to rely on cash aid and relief packs from the government, but even this was not sufficiently distributed. This situation lasted for several months. It was during this time that I proposed to the Columbans to help this community. I suggested that we distribute food subsidies and prepare the learning center so that the children could have access to internet and join their online classes. Thankfully it was approved and these families gratefully received aid for several months.

Our work resumed when the quarantine regulation was eased, but we continued to experience financial struggles because there were no orders from our customers who were focused on buying essentials. The majority of our orders come from churches, and of course, they remained closed. Despite this, we resumed our work. Instead of closing completely, we decided to cut down the working hours. This ensured that the women still had some money to buy food for their families. 

The Learning Center Pre-Pandemic
Two years into the pandemic, we’re still here but we have fewer orders than we did pre-Covid. Mothers keep making candles to stockpile for possible rush orders that might be around the corner. We take these opportunities when they arise and have tried to find alternative ways to increase our income. One idea was to expand our catalogue of products. The women chose to add dish washing soap and peanut butter as new lines. Another idea was to take our business online. Since quarantine was implemented, online sales have grown rapidly in the Philippines. We are planning to explore new marketplaces, but of course this is very new to us and it is not easy! Not only do we have limitations because we are a small project and not registered, but we are beginners when it comes to being an online business. Nevertheless, we are up for the challenge and keen to persevere!

This 2022, these mothers say, "We are up for the challenge and keen to persevere."

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