Update On COVID-19: Supporting Our Partners in the Philippines

Livelihood Through Lockdown 

COVID-19 impacts marginalized and low-income communities at a disproportionate rate. Unfortunately, daily wage earners and people who were already struggling financially have the most to lose and are the most vulnerable. 

Since the lockdowns began in the Philippines on March 16th, we’ve been donating a percentage of revenues to various community organizations focused on COVID-19 relief. 

Here are the results of our work so far:

 

 

Project PEARLS is a non-profit providing care and essentials to the hardest-hit communities in the Philippines. 

After a massive fire ravaged the low-income neighborhood they serve, they've been working double-time to feed 500 families and distribute other forms of relief every day.

This amount was raised by attendees of our Virtual Writing Workshop in May and, in part, a private donation of a long-time Cambio advocate.

Kapit Mindanao is a campaign to raise 1 million Pesos for 20 volunteer organizations serving the Mindanao region through the COVID-19 crisis.

They're collectively distributing grocery packs, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies in communities that need it most - including the indigenous T'boli.

This donation was sent through us by one of our Cambio advocates. It went toward the Livelihood Relief Program of our partner Rags2Riches which supports their artisans who've become sole income earners due to the strict lockdown of Manila.

Kapwa is a Tagalog word meaning 'kin'. We created The Kapwa Collection to support our fellow Filipinos in the Philippines

We've partnered with Project PEARLS to donate 10% of every sale from the Kapwa Collection to COVID-19 relief in the Philippines.

You might notice several of our pieces are on pre-order. Because of the lockdowns, many of our artisan partners have been unable to return to normal operations. Where possible, we've made pieces available as pre-order items that will ship to you once they're ready.

By purchasing pieces on pre-order, you help sustain livelihood for artisans through the pandemic.

Shop the Kapwa Collection. Click here.

What’s Happening In The Philippines? And What Does This Mean?

On March 16th, the Philippine government announced “enhanced quarantine measures in the island of Luzon, including Metro Manila. Since then, COVID-19 has had disastrous effects across the Philippine islands to varying degrees. In the midst of the pandemic, escalating human rights violations continue to take place.

We’re maintaining close communication with our team and community partners in the Philippines to stay as informed as possible. 

Our first priority is to ensure everyone’s safety. Our partners have each taken measures to protect the health and safety of their employees and partner artisans. We currently have one Cambio & Co. team member in Manila who works from home.

Our second priority is to ensure livelihood. Not many people have the financial savings to go without work, and not many small businesses have the financial reserves to go a long period without revenue. We’re doing everything in our power as Cambio & Co. to support them through this.

With the lockdown in Luzon, our partners have been hit hard financially. As their primary partner in North America, we hope that sales from Cambio & Co. can provide much needed financial resources to ensure our partners can continue to pay wages to artisans and staff.

What does this all mean for you? 

You can shop online and order as normal. 

As a small online company based in Canada, we have the ability to remain fully operational. We’re continuing to ship and fulfill your orders as usual. 

Restocking may take a while. 

Some of our partners aren’t able to continue normal operations, so it may take longer for us to receive pieces. This means once items are sold out, it may take a while before they return. We’re paying close attention to this.

We’ll still be sharing stories and empowering you to #WearYourHeritage. 

We understand that shopping may feel frivolous during times like these. But we believe in the power of wearing your heritage with pride, particularly at a time where anti-Asian racism is at an all-time high. 

We’re also working closely with our partners to develop ways to continue to provide them with a revenue stream, and the artisans with ongoing income. Your financial support is more important than ever. 

Finally, we encourage you to show empathy. 

Please continue to support small and local businesses, particularly social enterprises and BIPOC-owned brands (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour).

Please also check in on friends and family, especially the most vulnerable. This means the sick and elderly, but also frontline employees in precarious jobs who have no option but to go to work. And this also means asian, particularly Chinese individuals who are especially vulnerable to acts of racism and anti-asian violence.

We’re aware things are changing rapidly and we’re closely monitoring the situation along with our partners. We’ll continue to update this page, our social media channels, and our email newsletter with new developments.

In the meantime, our team is developing resources to support our community of Cambio advocates and to continue sharing stories that uplift us as a global Filipino community. 

In solidarity, 

Gelaine Santiago & Jérôme Gagnon-Voyer 
Co-Founders, Cambio & Co.