Salay Handmade


Developments in SHAPII

Export awareness came because SHAPII products were largely patronized by foreigners in the Philippines. Besides, being handcrafted, the price range is usually not within the reach of the ordinary people in the locality. Environmentalism has become SHAPII's most attractive feature. The love of handmade paper is still being developed locally.

Several agencies helped SHAPII enter the foreign market. In 1996, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.(PHILEXPORT) sponsored Neil's participation to a three-month seminar on export marketing at the Centre of the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) in Netherlands. Later, the Association of Partners for Fairer Trade, Inc. (APFTI) and the Department of Science and Technology-Technology Application and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI) sponsored Neil's joining an European marketing tour and the Global Technology Search. As a result, many buyers came to Salay, producing better relationships and bigger orders. Amazingly, the buyers found the simple rustic lifestyle and environment of Salay appealing. They were impressed by the clean and orderly condition of the workers and their shops. Workers of SHAPII

The Global Technology Search also introduced them to the practice and ethics of Fair Trade. This concept prodded SHAPII to engage in more developmental activities for its workers. SHAPII provided assistance for the installation of electric lights inside the homes of designers so the designers wouldn't develop eyestrain while pasting tiny flowers and leaves on paper. SHAPII also gave assistance for the construction of toilets for the workers who pay for these equipment on salary deduction scheme. Even more important, SHAPII coordinated with the German Doctors Team to provide a monthly three-day medical service to three barangays in Salay. SHAPII also holds English and computer classes every Saturday and during off hours for its staff.

Governments agencies like DTI, DOST, and PDDCP continued to help SHAPII. Private organizations like Growth for Equity in Mindanao (GEM) and Resource Innovation for Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation (RISE) also provided assistance. They also gave seminars, workshops and other learning opportunities for free or for a minimal fee. In Manila, Parkwood Products intensified its marketing activities for SHAPII products not only locally but also abroad. SHAPII's participation in national and a few international trade fairs honed its marketing abilities. Administration was strengthened by seminars and strategic planning sessions given by DTI, DOST and APFTI. In 1999, as SHAPII gathered enough revenues from its sales, it began profit-sharing among its workers. Already 14 of its 48 stockholders are workers.

A SHAPII Multipurpose Cooperative was organized in March 2000 with 137 members. It now and rice loans  within the SHAPII Compound.

SHAPII FoundationThe SHAPII Foundation was registered with SEC on June 3, 2000. Its first project is the provision of a high school scholarship grant to four  poor but deserving students who just graduated from elementary school. Since tuition is free in public schools, SHAPII's scholarship grant pays only for the scholars' miscellaneous expenses while the parents nurtures the child. The scholars must remain within top 15 of their classes. Soon this Foundation also supported scholars in College level. To date (2010) there are 7 college graduates from its roster , 90% of whom are gainfully employed.


Salay Handmade now faces the world of global commerce as an enterprise geared for competitiveness and along the best business practices it started with, improved through time with experience and a lot of help from friends from within the country and all over the world as it gathered friends along the way.

Neil C. RafisuraDr. Reynaldo and Mrs. Loreta Rafisura’s vision of being open to opportunities,  more than  two decades ago, to help its community have solidified and is reinforced by a new generation of workers and artisans they are so thankful have joined them in the advocacy and some kind of "apostolic work" . It is led by their son, Neil Rafisura, who is the General Manager now of Salay Handmade ,  the Fair Trade  way. It had not been easy. Everyday is a challenge but always the ringing battle cry of “Yes the Filipino Can” is at hand to keep the morale high especially when the climate of business is difficult. And the three o’clock daily prayer habit  is sustained  for indeed more things are wrought by prayers than this world knows of.

Development is very slow, but there are traces of change in the community’s infrastructures, the lives improved ,the facilities available, the increased vibrancy of the economy that somehow keep the hope flickering in the dark for the Philippines.

SHAPII Family 1997What started as small as a mustard seed (locally it would be referred as a "talisay seed") has grown indeed. It now has a Fair Trade Shoppe opened in the city of Cagayan de Oro in 2009, the Xavier Tibod Rural bank (A microfinance Rural bank) which started in Salay  in 2003 and now is based in Cagayan de Oro City of which Salay Handmade is one of its incorporators and of course the SHAPII Foundation and SHAPII Employees Multipurpose Cooperative since year 2000.. Most recently, in its desire for diversification it has included amongst its services to the community in 2010, an internet Cafe: the Highway Internet Cafe, the only such facility in the town with 12 units of computers and a strong internet signal .The SHAPII Printshoppe does simple manual silkscreen printing and gives some digital services to the community as needed.

Salay Handmade continues at its task of being a catalyst towards  a good change and keep on simply and steadily in the ups and downs of life.

The three  key factors of the identity of  Salay Handmade are  very visible when one  goes into its premises: an altar carved naturally from wood  at the back of its first building, the Filipino flag that flies high and proud from its façade along the SHAPII Flag and a billboard articulating the ten principles of Fair Trade by the walkway. Then one sees the large group of workers individually and cheerfully in action  at a traditional craft that results in natural  and exquisite products we hope will help  bridge  emotions and connect  lives. For myself, I just think that faith ,love, service,  nationalism and generosity keep Salay Handmade  going!

It is so apt as a developmental work!