ILOILO CITY: A Japanese beauty queen, holder of two international beauty titles, is in this city recently to revisit a livelihood project she help organized in 2006 for scavengers at the city of Calajunan dumpsite.
Nanami Tsuyama, Miss Japan who won the titles of Miss Oriental Tourism in May 8, 2012 held in China and Miss International on November 17, 2012 in Germany, was amazed on the transformation of more than 100 scavengers and their families with their established livelihood projects.
An English teacher and dance instructor, Nanami was in Iloilo City in 2006 as part of a group of young Japanese professionals recruited by the Love Our Own Brethren (Loob) Foundation to share and help influence the scavengers to put up a livelihood undertaking using the waste materials taken from the nearby dumpsite.
Ilonggo John Loot and his Japanese wife, Yukie Kobayashi, organized Loob and built a training center for the marginal people seek additional income from garbage. A lot of some 300 square meters near the dumpsite was donated for use by the scavengers in making handbags, fashion jewelries and other household items.
Nanami said the scavengers’ children are a happy lot now that their parents have a steady income from the items made at the center, especially the bags and fashion jewelries being exported to other countries.
The Calajunan scavengers are assisted by the city government through the General Services Office (GSO) by allowing to scavenge the dumpsite and look for materials. The GSO is also helping them in promotions and buyers for the finished products.
Nanami said she is happy with the project results and look forward to more projects be given to the scavengers. The beauty queen said she is going to tell other people of the world the misconception on the image of the Philippines especially the scavengers.