Parish makes and sells doormat to help the jobless
By Myrna Bermudo
“We started it to uplift their dignity as persons. Also to let them feel that the Church is here to assist them in their needs,” this was the heartfelt response of Fr. Bernard Lagatic when asked why the parish started making and selling doormats.
It was the worst of times. Newly planted rice farms were destroyed by flood and non-stop rains. Parishioners lost their jobs and source of livelihood. Twelve to fifteen houses per barangay in the Parish of St. Teresa of Calcutta were destroyed by the series of typhoons that visited the region in the last quarter of 2020.
To support families in these hour of needs, the parish started a livelihood project for women in the parish whose houses were totally damaged by the typhoons and lost their livelihood. They came up with doormat and pot holder-making.
Called Katurugangan ni Santa Teresa of Calcutta, it is a group of women parishioners who gather every Tuesday to make doormats and pot holders made from scraps of cotton or stretchable linen.
Once gathered in the parish grounds at Dugcal, Camaligan, they pray the Holy Rosary before they start making the doormats. .
“I am thankful because it became an opportunity to meet new friends from other barangays. Iwas tambay man or just sitting around with nothing to do. We became productive and it was very helpful because it provided additional income for our family’s basic needs, “ said Liezel Azotillo, coordinator of Katurugangan ni Sta. Teresa.
“Aside from family income, doormat-making is also a time for family bonding. We gather as a family to pray then we help one another to make the doormats. A daughter cuts the cloth, a son puts the stripped cloth on the molder or the ready-made pattern. The husband weaves, then the wife removes and organizes the finished doormats,” Ms. Azotillo enthuses.
The weekly Mass in the barangay is now an occasion for the members to express thanksgiving to God for the livelihood project, according to Katurugangan coordinator. There has been more participation in the Mass, she says.
For Fr. Bernard Lagatic, the doormat and potholder making proved that the less privileged, once given an opportunity, can truly help themselves. “I believe they can help themselves. And the Church is there to assist them.”
After four months, Katurugangan, which started with only twenty members in November 2020, now has forty-three active members. Each member remits 300 pieces of doormats every Tuesday. These doormats are bought by the parish. The parish advertises it through social media. Take home sales is not much. But for Ms. Azotillo and the doormat makers: “It feels good that the Church has empowered us by providing new skills. These skills now assist us in helping ourselves stand on our own feet.”
“Doleouts only last two to three days. Empowering them through skills training will help them gain their self-worth. Isn’t it that we often hear the Chinese proverb that says: If you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime,” quoted Fr. Lagatic.
Ms.Azotillo appeals: “Please help us by buying and advertising our doormats and pot holders. Visit out Facebook page of St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish.Dios Mabalos po!”
The project echoes the words of St. John Paul II, in his encyclical On Human Work Laborem Exercens #9: “Work is a good thing for man -a good thing for his humanity - because through work man not only transforms nature , adapting to his own needs, but also achieves fulfilment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes “more a human being.”