By LYNFA A. TAN
May 10, 2022
SAN PABLO CITY – Naturally creative and artistic, Filipinos started to make ceramic pottery 3,500 years ago. The artistry of molding pots into household wares and masterpieces were handed down from one generation to another, varying from different raw materials such as clay, cement, and metal, among others.
Felix Lumahan and his wife, Catherine, are makers of clay and cement pots from San Felipe, Koronadal City. They started their pottery business 15 years ago with only P1,000 pesos. At first, it was not easy for the couple. Because of their limited capital, they could not afford to buy raw materials in bulk from factories. They instead bought factory defect clay pots and repaired it with cement then painted it with bright colors to create new designs. Their unique pots attracted buyers in their area.
Unlike other businesses that struggled during the pandemic, their pottery business thrived. The number of people who made planting their hobby increased during the implementation of lockdowns and work-from-home arrangements. Due to a higher demand in their pots, they needed an increase in capital.
This is where CARD, Inc. entered the picture. Felix and Catherine availed business loans from CARD, Inc. to fund their enterprise. They also opened a sari-sari store to augment their income. With the support of the institution, the couple also learned the importance of saving and the proper use of loans.
Felix also noted how CARD, Inc. advocates for gender equality in their provision of services, "Ang CARD ay hindi na lamang ngayon para sa mga kababaihan, kundi ito ay para na sa lahat, sa kahit sino na gustong makaahon sa kahirapan, (CARD is no longer just for women, but it is for everyone, anyone who wants to get out of poverty,)" Felix shared. CARD, Inc. initially offered its services to landless agricultural workers but then shifted its focus to women entrepreneurs for several decades. Now, CARD, Inc. welcomes both men and women entrepreneurs.
Although the couple experienced tons of hardship as a family and with their business, their repurposed pots serve as their inspiration in their outlook in life: broken pots can be fixed into a new and useful one.
CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO), is one of the social development institutions of CARD MRI, which provides financial assistance through its microfinance services. To know about their loan and service, visit their Facebook page @CARDIncOfficial.