ANTHILL (Alternative Nest and Trading /Training Hub for Indigenous or Ingenious Little Livelihood seekers) is a social and cultural enterprise that has been working on elevating Filipino culture for 13 years. For over a decade, it has remained true to its purpose, which is to celebrate our Philippine culture and preserve weaving traditions through community enterprise programs and sustainable livelihood.
As with many local entities, the pandemic brought about challenges and uncertainties that greatly impacted ANTHILL and its communities. With limited resources and capacity to support their partner artisans, they had to suddenly transition as independent partners and put into practice what they have learned in the Community Enterprise Development Program and seek out alternative forms of income. Despite the difficult decisions made and a gradual shift in strategy, the ANTHILL continues to find ways to innovate and create opportunities to support its partner artisans.
Platform for impact
Anchored on the Filipino spirit of Bayanihan, ANTHILL paves the way to keep their partners going and help them fulfill their dreams for themselves and their families. This was strengthened by the presence of a growing global community that showed up for them during the toughest times throughout the pandemic. With the rapid evolution of fundraising tools online, ANTHILL has partnered with The Spark Project and the initial funding from the Australian Alumni Grant Scheme to utilize a crowdfunding platform to launch the Bayanihan Campaign.
ANTHILL partners with The Spark Project for an inclusive crowdfunding platform that aims to sustain the livelihoods of independent grassroots artisans who have the courage to pursue their dreams and showcase their creative talents and crafts.
The campaign aims to activate this genuine Filipino spirit to connect the artisans directly to the market, expand their reach, and enhance their skills in digital platforms and storytelling. It initially features three partner artisans, each with specific targets and goals.
Through The Spark Project’s platform, donors have the option to be a “backer” for a project by donating an amount to help reach their goal. Donors can also pledge an amount and choose from the “rewards” option, categorized by tiers, which are hand-crafted products to be created by the artisans. The money gained either through reward pledges or donations will be utilized for the purchase of supplies necessary to put in the work required to fulfill the production of the rewards or contribute to fulfilling their aspirations.
ANTHILL’s everyday heroes
Ate Belen has been ANTHILL's super seamstress and is ready to enjoy her independence and hone her creative sewing skills.
Two of Ate Belen’s most claimed rewards in the Bayanihan campaign: Tropik Market Tote Bag and Tapis, designed in collaboration with Bayani Designer Carla of Tropik Beatnik
Ate Belen “The Super Seamstress” is a single mother of two and a highly skilled master seamstress of apparel and accessory production. With Ate Belen's savings and hard work in ANTHILL, she was able to put her children through school. Now that her children are grown up, she dreams of having a sewing studio. Her campaign will provide her with an initial capital for the purchase of sewing machines and a few months rent to start off her own studio space.
Ate Jingle is the epitome of servant leadership to ANTHILL’s community partners and dreams of expanding her business.
Ate Jingle who has worked with ANTHILL’s partner HOME Plush Toys has vibrant and playful products, designed in collaboration with Bayani Designer and inspiring Entrepreneur Roma of Pop Junk Love and Common Room
Ate Jingle “The Craft Master” is a mother of three and has been the longest running Community Manager of ANTHILL's partner HOME Plush Toys for years. The HOME mothers work on handcrafting some of the beautiful Christmas ornaments, and baby mobiles available on ANTHILL markets. She not only makes dolls but has also gained skills in cash flow management, supply chain management, materials sourcing, pricing and fulfillment among others. Her goal is to expand her sari-sari store business, which she built using her savings from working at ANTHILL. She hopes to purchase a brand new refrigerator and an automatic “tubig” (water vending) machine to continue serving the needs of her community neighborhood. These additional amenities will also allow her husband, who lost his job during the pandemic, to support her in running their business.
Ate Jelyn envisions her goals beyond the loom and hopes to apply her education in her livelihood.
Ate Jelyn’s creations include polyhemp (top) and hablon (bottom) fabrics that are zero waste and designed in collaboration with Bayani Designer and Modern Weaver Jessica of Damgo Studio, a Philippine design studio specializing in ethically made handwoven textiles for fashion and interiors.
Ate Jelyn “The Weaving Warrior” is a Community Manager for ANTHILL’s partner, Hablonan ni Laureana in Argao, Cebu. Gaining the skill of weaving from her mother, she has been hard at weaving for the past four years until the pandemic hit. She had to be resourceful to put food on the table and provide additional income to support herself, her husband, and their daughter. Aside from her skills in weaving and community enterprise management, she also graduated from Cebu Technical University in Argao with a degree in Forestry. It has always been her dream to use her education and explore sustainable livestock farming by raising her own poultry, pigs, and cows. She dreams of being able to purchase a few animals, grow them and sell them when they are healthy and ready.
Bayanihan in everyone
Bayanihan acknowledges the bayani in ANTHILL’s artisans in the way they provide for themselves and their families. For years, ANTHILL has empowered those who make up their ecosystem — from the the artisans that keep handcrafted traditions alive, design collaborators who render visions of the traditional with the modern, production partners translate these modern designs into functional wear and the weave wearers proudly carry themselves in these thoughtfully made pieces. The Bayanihan Crowdfunding Campaign not only provides funding support for the partner artisans, but it also keeps the ecosystem and connection alive.