This author was recently mesmerized by various types of intricately-crafted handbags made of recycled newspapers. The brainchild of Lourdes Trinidad-Ocampo, the handbags carry the name “D’yario” and each handbag is intricately handwoven, handmade and distributed through the Bags4Life Livelihood Initiative Program, a non-profit organization helping incarcerated women develop their creative skills, to enable them to get rehabilitated and go back to the workforce once they leave the facility.
Sheltered all her life (her dad, Anselmo Trinidad of Iba, Zambales was the former President of the Manila Stock Exchange and her deceased husband, Ed Ocampo, was a three-time Olympian who has coached the teams of: Toyota, Shell and Pepsi), Lulu had to learn to stand on her own and by sheer luck, after her husband Ed passed away, she went to ‘Sapang Palay’ where they both used to do apostolic work and while there, she noticed a choir guitarist “rolling strips of newspaper making boats and other things.” So, she approached him and requested him to make her a handbag out of the recycled newspapers. Thus, after a week, her Bags4Life Livelihood Initiative Program was born.
As a “bag lady,” Lulu’s tenacious pursuit of excellence, quality control,and product development has brought her immense recognition by name-brand stores such as Tesoro’s who now carry her products. Now almost 14 years into the business, Lulu has trained thousands of disadvantaged students making her bags ranging from the Smokey Mountain youth to the women inmates at the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong.
She has also formulated her own blend of laminate for the bags, making them more sturdy, waterproof and attractive to carry as a topnotched women’s accessory. Her innovativeness also made her discover that the texture of local papers produces better quality for her bags as compared to overseas papers such as the Financial Times.
For those of you interested to learn more about Lulu Ocampo’s ‘D’yario’ bags, you may contact them at:email@example.com.