DOST Provides Therapeutic Handlooms to the Differently-abled and Elderly

By:Sharmainne Rhey B. Caoili and Cyd Francis D. Recidoro (Technology Transfer, Information and Promotions Staff DOST-PTRI)

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña and Fr. Eduardo G. Cerbito (front row, 3rd and 4th from left, respectively) are joined by DOST-PTRI Director Celia B. Elumba (leftmost), DOST-NCR Regional Director Jojo B. Patalinjug III (rightmost) , and other VIPs in attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony during the turnover of modified four-harness therapeutic looms at Guanella Center, Inc.

QUEZON CITY, Metro Manila — Students with special needs and elderly members of Guanella Center, Inc., a religious organization based in this city, received 10 units of modified four-harness therapeutic handlooms (thera looms) from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) during a ceremonial turnover and launching activity attended by no less than DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, DOST - National Capital Region (DOST-NCR) Regional Director Jose B. Patalinjug III, and DOST - Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) Director Celia B. Elumba on June 11, 2018.

The technology assistance was made possible through the collaboration of the DOST-NCR Regional Office and the DOST-PTRI through the DOST-NCR Grants-in-Aid (GIA) funded project, “Improving the Capacity and Productivity of Persons with Disability (PWDs) and Livelihood Program at Guanella Center, Inc. through the Fabrication of PTRI-developed Portable Therapeutic Handlooms.”

Aside from designing and developing the thera looms which cater to the specific needs of the members of Guanella Center, Inc., DOST-PTRI also provided technical assistance such as training on basic handloom weaving, as well as on the operation and maintenance of the thera looms.

DOST-PTRI Director Elumba observes as a differently-abled student from Guanella Center,
Inc. demonstrates the use of the thera loom under the guidance of DOST-PTRI master
weaver Ms. Josefa Garlitos.
During the ceremonial turnover and launching activity, DOST-PTRI Director Elumba talked briefly about the concept of the thera loom as originally designed for paraplegics. Nonetheless, through a previous project by DOST-NCR and DOST-PTRI with the St. Francis School-VSA Arts Philippines, Inc. in May 2017, it was seen that students with special needs who started off with practically no background in weaving, can still benefit from the thera looms. Director Elumba further stated that the project is “a wonderful privilege, a wonderful opportunity to be able to impart, not just for livelihood possibilities, but to be able to do this for rehabilitative, meditative, or well-being practices.” In addition, she said that the project allows opportunities for collaboration, and hopes that the project can be duplicated in other locations such as in Legazpi City, Albay, and in Tacloban, Leyte.

Senior citizen members of Guanella Center, Inc. demonstrate their skill with the thera looms. DOST-NCR Regional Director Patalinjug, for his part, expressed his appreciation for everyone involved in the project. Moreover he said, “Our office will continue this project in our region. We will look for communities who will be able to use this, because this is one technology of DOST that I can really say that Science is really for the people.” DOST Secretary de la Peña, meanwhile, stressed the need for project stakeholders involved to help each other in marketing the products produced by the center. He also said that the project is something to be proud of as it keeps members of the community busy and productive, and gives them confidence and a feeling of fulfillment. The activity capped off with a weaving demonstration by members of Guanella Center, Inc.

habi Macky Legaspi, a student with special needs from the St. Francis-VSA Arts Philippines, Inc., a beneficiary of the portable therapeutic handlooms in 2017, attended the ceremonial turnover of the modified thera looms at Guanella Center, Inc., and showcased his saori weaving skills.

habi DOST-PTRI-developed modified four-harness therapeutic handlooms