JR Agao, 28 yo. Abaca paper maker had to learn to support himself at an early age after losing both his parents when he was 13.
Leukemia took both his parents in 2000 and 2001. Tragic as it already is, him and his four siblings were left with almost nothing to support themselves with. They had to survive for a while with very small pension money their father left, but that didn’t last very long.
A NECESSARY SACRIFICE
With all siblings helping out in making some money, JR was able to finish high school and go to college to study Fine Arts. But the financial woes got more and more difficult with all of them in school, forcing him to stop and help instead in making money.
JR took any job that came his way from waiting tables to dog training. He has always been a responsible kid and that kept him from losing his way even without the guidance of adults.
FINDING HIS LOST ART
Eventually he ended up getting a job at the Paper Project as a paper-maker. There, they blend abaca fibers and make their own paper. Odd as it seems, here is where JR found his niche. He now leads a team of 5 young men making paper from Abaca fibers and JR is mainly in charge or color mixing. He was able to apply his background in fine arts in coming up with new colors and combinations.
Many has fallen into the pitfalls of poverty and struggles. For some of those people that JR knew, they ended up drowning in drug addiction or crime... the less luckier ones, dead. JR considers himself fortunate that he was saved from those grim possibilities because of the opportunities he had. Thankful for the job he really enjoys in the company of friends. Thankful for the good relationships he has in his life. Not to mention the new motor bike he just bought that he can't get enough of. For JR, now and today...life couldn't be any better.