My husband, Wilt, opened a home-based, small-scale silk screen printing business in 2015 to augment the meager income that I was earning.
Our husband-and-wife tandem worked well for a time, until tragedy struck us in 2019. Fire broke in our home and gobbled everything up, including our shirt printing shop. Since then, with six mouths to feed, we have been struggling to get back on our feet despite the help from friends and family right after the fire.
Help us bring Wilt’s Printhauz back. It can help us become financially stable and independent again. Your donations will allow us to purchase equipment and supplies and convert our small porch into a workshop. Help us kickstart this project and get it off the ground as quickly as we can.
Send your donations through the Donate Now buttons on the right side bar or the bottom of this page; payments are processed by PayPal. You may also send help through GCash or BPI (details at the end of this article).
If you have some extra time, more details on our situation and our project are explained below.
Wilt’s Printhauz Opens
Way back in 2015, about four years after hypertension and otitis media forced him to quit his job, my husband, Wilt, decided to start a small, home-based silk screen printing business to supplement our family income.
Working at that time as a bookkeeper in a private company, I was the sole breadwinner for our growing family. My income alone could barely provide for our family’s basic needs. We lived paycheck to paycheck, and raising seed capital for the t-shirt printing shop was nearly impossible. Thankfully, my employer helped me secure a loan from our workplace cooperative. And so, Wilt’s Printhauz was born.
Wilt mostly had small projects, but he sometimes got to work on big projects, such as the one in which a basketball coach from my alma mater commissioned him to print hundreds of t-shirts for the university’s varsity team summer camp.
Everything went well with Wilt’s printing operations. During my free time, I helped my husband in his workshop. The income from Wilt’s projects helped buffer our expenses when my next paycheck was still far away.
Humble Dreams for Our Family
Wilt and I struggled to grow our shirt printing business and keep it sustainable. It was crucial to the realization of our dreams for our growing family.
Our dreams are simple. Wilt and I want our kids to have a good education. We dream of having our own home, and, if God wills it, also a car. We want our kids to not starve. We want them to be healthy. We want them to finish school and land in good jobs or start their own businesses. We want to be able to pay off our mortgages. We dream of a happy, comfortable, well-fed, and well-educated family in a safe home. Wilt and I realized that, together, we could achieve these dreams with the help of my job and his silk screen printing business.
But, that fateful night of July 5, 2019, turned those dreams into ashes. Let me tell you briefly about that harrowing night.
Dreams Burned to Ashes
Most of us were already asleep at past midnight when my nine-month-old daughter, Mary Nicole, who was lying between Wilt and me, suddenly started to cry. I thought that she was hungry — unusual for her at this time of the night — but she refused my breast and continued crying. So, I climbed out of bed to make her some formula milk.
On my way back to our room, I heard strange whooshing sounds from upstairs. The house lights were flashing. Feeling alarmed, I woke Wilt and asked him to check. We thought at first that cats or mice were playing again on the abandoned second floor where the previous house occupants’ belongings were stored. We also heard objects falling to the floor, but we thought those were just my neighbors closing up their barbecue store late at night.
Wilt had barely reached the top of the stairs when he saw the raging fire hungrily devouring everything that its tongues could lick. “Sunog! Sunog!” (“Fire! Fire!”) he shouted at the top of his lungs as we scrambled down the stairs. The fire had already engulfed everything on the second floor. I, too, started to scream “Sunog! Sunog!” to alert everyone, including our neighbors.
We rushed to save what was most precious to us — our kids and my 79-year-old mother. Everyone was able to get out safely, and for that we thank God greatly.
We all stood outside from a safe distance, trembling in fear as we watched our house — and Wilt’s silk screen printing equipment and supplies — burn to the ground, including Wilt’s exposure lights, printing line tables, heat press, blower, silk screens, tubs of fabric paint, jars of photo emulsion, and squeegees. The bright and hungry flames illuminated the darkness with the color of devastation. It looked like a surreal scene from hell. We were not able to save anything else except the important documents and a bag that I was able to snatch on the way out.
We were inconsolable. The fire had taken away our home and property. It shattered our dreams.
The local media reported on this fire incident:
Friends and Family to the Rescue
Apparently, our Mary Nicole’s cries that night kept us awake — and saved our lives. We owe our lives to our little one.
My husband’s aunt and tito, Jean and Allan, offered us temporary shelter. We are eternally thankful for her help and for her patience as we stayed with her for about a month or so.
My family is especially grateful to Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Star and Cebu City Councilor Dondon Hontiveros for speeding up our request for government assistance. We are also indebted to my high school classmate, Riza Gabonia, for coordinating with the city councilor on our behalf. My high school 4-Yellow classmates also helped out in one way or another.
Eventually, we were able to find a new place to move into. Donations from the government and from my supportive employer, office mates, relatives, friends, and classmates helped us to start our second life at this new place. After having lost everything, we had to start from scratch.
We Will Rise from These Ashes — with Your Help
It’s now 2021. Two years have passed since the fire took away Wilt’s livelihood and our dreams. I still have my bookkeeping job, but it does not earn me enough to sustain my family. I could even barely pay for the housing loan.
Wilt, on the other hand, was able to work in a restaurant for a few months not too long after the fire, but shortly before the government ordered the community quarantine, he had to quit his job because no one else could care for our little ones. We looked around for a nanny to care for the kids, but no one was willing to work for us in the mountainous village where we relocated. Plus, the pandemic made it more difficult for us to hire a nanny.
We believe that if we brought Wilt’s Printhauz back to life we’d be able to make both ends meet again like we used to. And, since it is home-based, Wilt will be able to attend to our kids. This business, even if small-scale, could get us back on track towards our dreams for our family.
Our challenge now is that of raising funds to rebuild the business. Will you help us?
We will be buying the following pieces of equipment and supplies (Note: prices are just estimates):
- Desktop PC and printer (Php 20,000)
- Printing line table (Php 10,000)
- Heat press (Php 10,000)
- Exposure light unit (Php 1,000)
- Blower (Php 800)
- Aluminum frame / wood frame
- Screen mesh
- Photo emulsion
- Textile inks
- Emulsion remover
- Table adhesive
- Synthetic Squeegees
- Transparent film
- Other printing equipment and supplies as needed
We will also be allocating around Php 20,000 to Php 40,000 of the donated funds to convert our small porch into a printing workshop with safe and proper walling and roofing to keep the equipment and materials safe from the elements. We also want to ensure that the workshop’s electrical wiring and outlets are safe and professionally installed. Here are photos of our current porch and Wilt’s rough sketch of the workshop’s design:
We need all the help that we can get. We need your prayers. We need your emotional support. We also need seed capital. Your donations could raise enough to jumpstart this crucial source of funds for my family. Help us get back on our feet, so that when our turn comes, we, like you, will also be able to give back and help others in need.
How to Donate
Please support our rebuilding of Wilt’s Printhauz by donating through GoGetFunding. Click the Donate Now button bellow.
You may also send funds directly through the following:
- GCash (scan the QR code below or manually input
0922 623 2261for the recipient's number)
- BPI bank transfer or bank deposit
- Account name:
Myraluna C. Violanda
- Account number:
- Account name:
Daghan kaayo'ng salamat sa inyong tabang! (That's Cebuano for "Thank you so much for your help!")