The coconut tree is widely known as the tree of life. From top to bottom, the tree can sustain human life. In 2013, there was an excess of coconut shells in Muntinlupa City Jail. This sparked an idea from one of the jail wardens — it was an opportunity, a window of hope for such a sullen place.
With enough planning and research, the idea turned into a life changer. They decided to make use of the coconut shells and turn them into lampshades made exclusively by their inmates. Who knew that a pile of coconut shells could turn into a form of livelihood for the Muntinlupa PDLs?
But with the transition from traditional to online transactions and a larger deficit of resources, the sky is not as clear. Materials have become harder to come by. They get their coconut shells locally, but have no direct supplier, their relience on local markets for raw materials have left them close to empty-handed. The inmates also don't have a proper work area, with the jail being congested as is, they are struggling to find room to produce their lampshades.
But this does not toy with Sir Christian's faith on the inmates and their product. He still hopes their efforts will be recognized. For seven years, these lampshades have become a breakthrough for PDLs and their families. Through this innovation, the inmates have been able to provide despite the conditions, rehabilitate and turn to a positive outlet, and contribute to the string of local businesses that focus on sustainability and environmental preservation.
As the fight against COVID-19 continues, the Muntinlupa City inmates continue to strive against the hardships and still give their best, with hope that one day they can expand to a larger selection of products, and explore the versitility of the tree that sustains them.