By VERA Files
Ever wondered who makes the wooden jeepneys on sale at the handicraft store Kultura?
Those decorative items and many other products were created by persons with disabilities belonging to the Circle of Friends Foundation Inc. (COFFI).
COFFI, which has for its members artists from Tahanang Walang Hagdan, runs a small gallery at the Greenhills Shopping Center which sells a variety of products ranging from the wooden jeepney to aprons, bags and purses. It supplies products to, among others, the popular handicraft store Kultura at the SM Malls.
Lalaine Guanzon, COFFI public relations advisor, said the group aims to alter the public image of PWDs as mendicants and change it into one where they are productive members of society.
The number of COFFI's resident artists has doubled from five to 10, each of whom earns as much as P5,000 a week. The PWD artists share their incomes with Tahanang Walang Hagdan.
(This story is part of Reporting on Persons With Disability, a project of VERA Files in partnership with The Asia Foundation and Australian Agency for International Development. VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. VERA is Latin for "true.")