Karaw Craftventures, a design hub that upcycles scrap materials into artisanal products, has been awarded as the BPI Sinag Challenge Champion 2015 for its initiative to empower inmates at the Naga City jail in the Bicol region.
The project trains inmates for livelihood opportunities while they are in prison to help prepare them to be productive when they are released.
“We empower people through art” is the battle cry for the Karaw Craftventures as it addresses environmental concerns by using recyclable materials in creating new products such as plush toys, bags, shoes, shirts, and key chains into brands called The RagPet Project, Munequeta, and Aurora.
Social entrepreneur Paul Orpiada’s project was inspired by a jail visit during his college days. The goal, he says, is to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for the women inmates through an in-prison skills development program as they supply products to the market.
Orpiada runs the project along with a part time team and their aim is to collaborate with more local governments and non government organizations to keep the project going.
Karaw Craftventures winning the BPI Foundation Sinag program infused the project with P500,000 and a six-month mentorship to grow the small enterprise.