For Cynthia Cabrera, life was tough.
Work, for her, meant long days spent weaving hand-crafted rugs for a daily wage equivalent to 20 cents — barely enough for a bag of rice.
Hers was a story like tens of thousands of other artisans, mostly women, living in Payatas, a district in metropolitan Manila — one of the most impoverished regions in the Philippines.
To make ends meet, district residents had created a textiles enterprise upcycling fabrics from a neighboring landfill. Their profits, however, were regularly siphoned off by the merchants who would take them to market.