How This Tita Helps Kids Craft And Transform Their Future
Transforming her path for healing into a social enterprise, Crafting Time’s Melody Manalaysay Palogan shares how she also raises her nieces and nephews to be pro-social in their choices.
It’s not an uncommon story in the Philippines for kids to drop out of school. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), about 244 million kids were forced to drop out of school in 2022. But what made them drop out? “Many students drop out due to money problems, family troubles, peer pressure, becoming parents early, or struggling with learning,” admits Melody Palogan, Crafting Time’s founder.
Although running a social enterprise is much more challenging than a typical business, Melody finds comfort in staying true to her family’s core value: service. She even ropes in her nephews and nieces to man the booths in the many bazaars she joins! “Our family has a strong tradition of service – my parents in the church, my brothers in education, and the Red Cross. I often emphasize the importance of sharing with them. Our blessings aren’t meant to be hoarded; they’re meant to be shared.”
Epiphany For Education
Once just a hobby to help distract her from the negative thoughts and a broken heart, Melody decided to share the joy of crafting clay polymer earrings with others. Together with her mom, Melody grew her business until that fateful day in a “ber” month in 2018, when a public school student approached her with the goal of providing financial support for her family.
“As the Ber season of 2018 approached, I decided to hire a part-time employee, a public school student from my barangay, who sought financial support for her family. Shortly after, another student approached me, expressing the same need. Recognizing the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in their lives, I welcomed them into the team,” she shares.
Soon, other students who wished to continue their education without worrying about financial constraints approached her with the same requests. And soon, the many students of Western Bicutan High School became, what Melody calls, the “heart and soul” of Crafting Time. “They give me a true sense of purpose and drive our commitment to support them until they graduate from college. Our goal extends beyond creating beautiful jewelry; it is about improving the lives of these students and providing them with the means to pursue a brighter future.”
Helping Them Achieve Work-School Balance
We often emphasize to our kids that finishing their education is a non-negotiable. The same goes for Melody — a tita to her many beloved nephews and nieces — as she parents these students by emphasizing that their goal to finish school and achieve is what allows them to keep working with her and their fellow schoolmates. “Their schedules are flexible; they can come after their classes or when there are no classes. They understand that school comes first and that they need to perform well academically in order to remain a part of our team.”
Besides providing life skills for these many high school and college kids, she also provides support for kids who aspire to reach greater educational achievements. From financial support, life hacks about saving, advice, and even keeping the work schedule flexible, Melody braces herself against all challenges, like any parent, to ensure that these kids finish school for a better future.
Creating Sparkling Futures One Craft At A Time
Roping our kids to believe in the “bigger picture” isn’t always easy, especially when there’s little financial reward. But for Melody, raising her nephews and nieces to be more active in society means emphasizing the reality that their blessings are theirs to share, not hoard. “We’re not meant to hoard our blessings; we need to share them. When you have the ability to help, it’s your duty to do so. This responsibility extends to our community, and I’m confident this value will be carried forward to more generations.”
And by giving these kids a chance to craft their own futures, Melody helps these kids create a better future for their families and gives them a chance to do what every kid deserves to do: to dream.