By Darwin Manumbali

The beginning of the story of Almira C. Beltran and Almira’s Beadswork was not easy. It was a story of lessons and inspiration.
A woman who believes in the power of diligence and perseverance, Almira tested her fate in Saudi Arabia as a domestic helper. She thought she would uplift her family’s life but it turned out to be the biggest test of her life.
The pains that Almira suffered in the hands of her employers were not a joke. She was maltreated. She was not fed and her communication with her family was cut. Almira suffered illness and worse, she was put to jail for some allegations.
Almira did not lose hope while in jail. She forced herself to survive with the trials presented to her. She started teaching beadwork to other prisoners with the help of officials who trusted in her ability. From the beads she wore, her strength and dreams were rebuilt. In her eight month jail term, Almira decided to start a business of her own upon her return to the Philippines.
When Almira was released on February 24, 2016, she promised to raise herself up again for her family. She started to make beaded bags and accessories. The start of Almira’s Beadworks was the turning point for the transformation of her colorful life. Through the local government unit, Almira’s Beadswork was introduced to the DTI-Nueva Ecija. DTI then offered its services and encouraged the registration of her business.
With the help of seminars offered by the Department of Trade and Industry, Almira’s knowledge was upgraded. The business was able to participate in various trade fairs, not only in Nueva Ecija, but also in other provinces and Metro Manila. She participated in the Likha ng Central Luzon Trade Fair at SM Megamall on October 11-15, 2017 and in the CARP Regional Trade Fair at Robinson Starmills, San Fernando Pampanga on November 13-16, 2017.
In June 7, 2017, she was introduced as one of the Mentees under the Kapatid Mentor ME program of the DTI. Ms. Almira underwent the 10 business modules. She successfully passed the business improvement plan presentation which is a requirement of the program, and which earned her a slot in the KMME graduation.
With the learning from KMME which she adopted, her business operations improved and her market started to grow. Almira now sells her products online. Many of her beaded bags have been ordered not only in Nueva Ecija but also in the different parts of the Philippines and abroad. Additionally, she sells her products to her friends and buyers where they could also buy raw materials and her handmade precious beaded bags. Starting the business with her children as workers, she now has one additional worker. Her booth sales increased by 50 percent, as well as sales through orders. She also now has a market outlet of her own in San Jose City.
She also became a trainer of DTI-organized trainings on beaded items making.
Almira puts love and passion on every product she does. Together with her children and her siblings, they made a variety of designs to offer endless quality and quality. Each new design is named after the first buyer, a way to express the gratitude for the support the people giving to her beadworks.
Almira’s simple view is simple, that is, “We must strive for whatever challenges we face with family support and strong faith and love for God”. Almira’s dream is to know more about her creations. She wants to continue to enjoy it and support more people.
Almira believes that your fortitude does not measure the challenges you face if not on how you will arise from these trials. And like the fortitude of her beaded bags, Almira will remain firm and steady, an inspiration for all of us.♦ 
Almira's Beads 1 
Ms. Almira C. Beltran, KMME Batch 1 mentee while sharing her stories during KMME seminar.


 Almira's Beads 2
 Almira’s Beadswork, selling her adorable products at Likha ng Central Luzon 2017 at Megamall Trade Hall, Mandaluyong City on October 11-15, 2017.