Caritas Manila markets the products of its urban poor partners under the Caritas Margins label as well as paintings by inmates it supports under the Caritas Restorative Justice Program. This way, it helps its urban poor partners and families of prisoners augment their income and improve their quality of life. Proceeds from the sales of the Caritas Margins products also support the Caritas scholarship program, the Youth and Servant Leadership and Education Program.
“Margins” was coined from “marginalized”, referring to groups who are neglected, deprived, ignored; in other words, the poor. The “Caritas Margins” label was registered with the Intellectual Property of the Philippines (IPP) in year 2011. It is an offshoot of the Skills Training Program of Caritas Manila, which has conducted various trainings on crafting fashion accessories, production of herbal soaps, perfume, medicinal ointments and homecare products and food processing & commercial cooking for the benefit of its urban poor partners since year 2009. To date, a total of 32,937 urban poor partners have acquired livelihood skills from these trainings, which have been put to practical use in their products and services.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of Caritas Margins products:
1. Paintings – Artworks by prisoners in the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. The artist inmates typically use acrylic or oil to express their creativity and imagination, depicting still life, nature and religious images.
2. Knotted Rosary –the knotted rosaries are intricately crafted also by inmates in the National Bilibid Prison.
3. Bakya and sandals – Made from dried water lilies abundant in the Laguna de Bay, these are handcrafted by women from Cupang, Muntinlupa City.
4. Bead Products – Made from beads in various designs, these bags, coin purse, wallets, pen holders and rosaries are produced by the urban poor partners trained by Caritas Manila through its Livelihood Program.
5. Bags –These are bags sewn by men and women from Tondo, Manila out of recycled denim, katsa, jute bags and tarpaulin. There are also bags and other items crafted from recycled papers by inmates in San Juan City jail.
6. Mr. Bean bear and other stuffed toys – Stuffed toys sewn from denim by men and women from Tondo, Manila
7. Home Care Products – products such as dishwashing liquid, hand soap and detergent powder are being manufactured by Caritas Youth Servant Leaders and other partners, under the supervision of a volunteer licensed chemist.