If you’re curating a list for Christmas gifts you want to give to friends and family, then these beautifully-designed tote bags are a perfect choice. These are unique not only because of the prints but because each one is crafted by persons with disabilities (PWD).
Community-based drug store Southstar Drug, which launched its PWD program in 2016, continues to create opportunities for PWDs to help them lead productive lives. Together with Project Inclusion Network, they have employed at least 23 persons with disabilities in several of their branches, with most of them becoming regular employees.
This Christmas season, the two organizations are taking it a step further by launching their Drop the Prefix campaign, which aims to raise awareness about PWDs and raise more funds to sponsor the training and development of PWDs who have shown potential in the arts.
Starting October 15, 2019 Southstar Drug branches will be selling specially-made bags created by PWDs from Goodwill Industries of the Philippines. Their artworks will also be turned into desk and wall calendars and become giveaways this Christmas.
Art without limitations
Each bag and artwork has an interesting story behind it. One is made by Maribeth, a deaf woman who is extremely talented in painting, and who learned the arts by watching YouTube videos. Her bag design highlights the fight for equal rights of Filipino children with disabilities and she sees it as her way of helping out her community.
Another design comes from Joaquin, who has autism. For him, painting is not just part of his therapy but also a way for him to explore and hone his creativity. Because of it, he has become more patient and comfortable with his surroundings, and this inspires him to create art that tackles the ideas of the environment, as well as health and wellness.
The last designer, Juan Gabriel, is also a person with Autism. With the help of his parents, he was able to discover his love for art and charcoal painting and was given freedom to decide for himself what kind of art he wanted to do.
Gifts for a cause
Part of the proceeds for each bag will go to the educational training and development of PWD scholars Southstar Drug and Project Inclusion Network have been supporting. This will further improve their capabilities of becoming active participants of our society.
“We believe that everyone should be valued and [appreciated for] one’s uniqueness, capability, and ability,” shares Christine Tueres, general manager of Southstar Drug. “With this project, we are able to help our society not just by delivering healthcare but also by providing love and care to everyone.”