The tradition of weaving among the people of Maguindanao is called inaul. Into these beautiful fabrics are woven the history, culture, and identity of the people of Maguindanao—which is why a group of young men and women is committed to keeping this tradition alive.
Halima Guimba Alfonso is a young woman from Cotabato City who believes in the value of preserving and celebrating this tradition, while also giving the weavers an opportunity to make a living.
Together with a group of young leaders from Barangay Montay, Datu Piang, Maguindanao, Alfonso started Kabagaul Lalan sa Kalilintad—Weaving for Peace.
This project was initiated under the auspices of the Bangsamoro Young Leaders Program–Leadership Communities (BYLP). BYLP–LeadCom is an initiative led by Ayala Foundation, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao–Office of the Regional Governor, and the Eisenhower Fellows Association of the Philippines. It empowers young men and women from the ARMM to become leaders in their respective communities. Through this program, the participants identify a community issue that they can help solve, through a project that they themselves will develop, implement, and sustain.
Recently, Weavers for Peace had the opportunity to showcase their project at the Ayala Foundation booth during the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank earlier this year.
One of the respected weavers from their community, Babu Bia, demonstrated the intricate art of weaving at the ADB Plaza. The Ayala Foundation booth was one of the most visited booths during the three-day run of the meeting, attended by hundreds of representatives from the local and international civil society, nonprofit, funding and international NGO sectors. The booth also sold a number of beautifully woven items to the conference attendees—showing the potential of traditional inaul as a source of livelihood for weavers.
Today, Halima’s team gets orders from various sectors, including corporate orders.
Said Alfonso: “Since it is the first program to cater weavers and promote Inaul in a community where it was believed it originated from, people are optimistic that the project will be an avenue for them to uplift their social living condition.”
At present, Weavers for Peace aims to empower 35 weavers from Maguindanao.
The Bangsamoro Young Leaders Program–Leadership Communities (BYLP–LeadCom) seeks to harness the strengths of Bangsamoro youth as agents of positive change in their respective communities, through projects that they themselves will conceptualize, implement, and sustain. BYLP–LeadCom is a partnership project between Ayala Foundation, the Office of the Regional Governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, and the Eisenhower Fellows Association of the Philippines.