FORMER inmates turned entrepreneurs are having flourishing souvenir businesses at the Pasalubong Center along Palma Gil St., Davao City.
After serving their sentence for more than a decade each, three former inmates’ lives were changed when they took to business what they learned inside.
Upon entrance to the Pasalubong Center, the first souvenir booth on the right side that is selling handmade items were of Gina Talingting, Evelyn M. Asa-ali.
Some of their best-selling products include key holders for P10, weaved bags for P100, handmade bracelets for P100, malong for P100, and printed Davao City T-shirts that come in various designs and averagely cost P300.
According to Talingting, they first learned about weaving bags, creating miniature hand souvenirs out of bamboo and shells, and key chains during their livelihood trainings inside the jail.
After serving her own sentence, she started weaving bags and selling them in different shops. Because of this dedication, she was given recognition during the “Pasidungog: Garbo sa Dabaw” program last year. This award is given to Dabawenyos who have demonstrated “selfless acts of compassion, integrity and heroism, and embodying the essence of what it truly means to be a Dabawenyo.”
After this award, Talingting was given the opportunity to display her products at the Pasalubong Center such as her dasters, necklaces, scarves, and miniature souvenir items.
Some of these products were also made by the current inmates while others were by Talingting and her friends themselves. Talingting had been in the Pasalubong Center for more than year and has only brought in two of her friends after they have each served their sentence. She was able to share the opportunity given to her by the City Government.
This summer, they are expecting more tourists to come and visit the Pasalubong Center especially those who come from different areas of the country that will buy their best-selling malongs and printed Davao City t-shirts. (Yvonne C. Masloc, FSUU intern)