AN Australian mining company operating in Nueva Vizcaya has diversified its social responsibility involvement by teaming up with Grameen Australia to establish a cooperative for the poor for the recycling of clothing factory wastes.
OceanaGold Philippines Inc. has donated an initial P250,000 to jumpstart the cooperative project which will be sited initially in Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal province. The town of Taytay is part of the district of clothing factories where volumes of textile excesses are discarded.
Chito Gozar, OceanaGold senior vice-president for communications and external affairs, said the textile remnants are gathered by the poor and recycled into rags which are widely used as cleaning implements in factories, buildings, homes, offices and other commercial establishments.
“Rag making is a typical activity in many homes where resources are scarce in the town which gives not only cash for food on the table, but also a window of opportunity for the hard working to achieve the fabled rags-to-riches dream,” Gozar said.
He added that by providing capacity building, loan capital and market linkage to the cooperative, OceanaGold will play a great role in transforming the home-based rag-making industry into a social business.
He said Grameen Australia will provide hands-on business skills training to develop the members’ business plan prior to the release of their loans.
Gozar added that collective planning for organized production will be facilitated to ensure cost effective pooling of capital, resources and marketing potential, while Grameen Australia will mentor the rag makers to ensure sound business operation and loan cycle performance.
OceanaGold Country Director Bradley Norman explained that in helping alleviate extreme poverty, there is a need to enhance the income of women in the rag-making business.
“Through our partnership with Grameen Australia, we can provide them better training, mentoring, microfinance and banking services in so doing changing their lives and the lives of their families permanently,” Norman said.
He also said OceanaGold aims to help people of Aredang earn additional income out of trash and contribute significantly to the government’s poverty reduction effort.
Norman said the company is and has always been an advocate of social entrepreneurship wherever there is opportunity.
“We chose to collaborate with Grameen Australia because it helps the worlds poorest, especially women, gain access to financial services, life changing information and unique business opportunities,” Norman said.
He said Grameen Australia’s innovative approach to philanthropic endeavour is underpinned by the internationally acclaimed Nobel Laureate Professor Yunus and the work of the Grameen Foundation around the world, and its 38 years of pioneering endeavour in lifting people out of poverty through microfinance.
OceanaGold is also a partner of Enactus Philippines, a community of students committed to entrepreneurial action to transform lives, according to Norman.