Following retirement after 26 years with IBM in the U.S., Ramona Benitez McClelland discovered she had a creative side she didn’t know existed. With an interest in helping those less fortunate back in her native Philippines, she founded the Benitez Collection as a social enterprise dedicated to promoting livelihood opportunities in poor communities in the Philippines, by creating unique, eco-friendly jewelry for the active woman. Women in the villages of GK Victoria and Ligtasin create bangles and beads from materials such as old newspapers, magazines, used plastic bottles, non-toxic paints, and varnishes. These materials are both eco-friendly and easily accessible. Working with the Benitez Collection allows them to earn a sustainable livelihood working from home, so they can better care for their families. After Ramona pays the artisans, she donates the proceeds from product sales to fund community development projects in partnership with Gawad Kalinga, an award winning 501(c)3 foundation with a holistic innovative approach to alleviating poverty.
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