An elderly woman’s secret to a happy life

fe kalahi

Fe Oronan, a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer, is proud that despite being an elderly, she is still able to serve her community.

For 66-year-old Fe Oronan, serving the people is her life’s inspiration.

Despite her age, she still has the strength to juggle several responsibilities because of the contentment she feels in helping their community.

“Malaking bagay ang makatulong sa kapwa. Kaya ang pagkakataong makapaglingkod ay malaking biyaya para sa akin,” said Fe, a resident of Brgy. Calimpak in Guinayangan, Quezon Province.

Fe is a volunteer health worker in their barangay for 25 years now. She is also a member of the community health team where they monitor the health of poor families and ensure that they avail monthly health check-ups and other medical services.

She also became a barangay councilor of their coastal village for eight years where she was exposed to their community’s needs and problems.

For her, it is also being of service to the community that she finds more opportunities to help. All her life, she has seen the need of an evacuation area for the residents of their coastal community in times of disasters.

“Halos 500 na pamilya ang nakatira sa tabing dagat at kailangang lumikas tuwing may bagyo. Sa school at sa barangay hall sila nagpupunta pero hindi naman sila lahat kasya ‘dun,” shared Fe.

Last 2014, Fe could not hide her happiness when she found an opportunity to help the community in a different way. She suggested and led a project to address this long-time community need when the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program started in their community.

Together with other community volunteers, they implemented a community center sub-project.

Working together for the community center

While they are implementing the project, Fe appreciated the Kalahi-CIDSS’ process of consulting and engaging the community residents starting from the planning up to the construction of the community center.

They underwent trainings on proposal development, financial management and procurement to gain knowledge and skills in managing the project. With these activities, Fe felt that the government has given them trust and is guiding them in executing the PhP1.40 Million project.

In return, Fe made sure that they perform their tasks well.

As the head of the volunteers, she regularly held meetings with the volunteers and monitored every transaction from the canvass and procurement of materials to the hiring of good laborers and timekeeping during construction. She wanted to ensure that the grant provided to them is properly utilized.

“Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila na kahit ako ay may edad na, sa abot ng aking makakaya ay sisikapin kong magampanan ang aking tungkulin bilang head ng volunteers sa aming baranggay,” shared Fe.

She also solicited support from their barangay council in the construction process. More than she expected, the council helped in the construction work for free, with their barangay officials shouldering the snacks for all the workers.

“Paraan daw po iyon ng pasasalamat ng sanggunian dahil natugunan ang pangangailangan ng mga tao nang hindi na kailangang ibawas pa sa budget ng baranggay,” said Fe.

This December 2015, the construction of the 126-square meter-community center is already completed. They are now procuring chairs, cabinets and other furnishings to make it fully functional by next year.

More responsibilities, more fulfillment

Aside from her responsibilities in the community, at home, Fe is a grandmother to Dexter Amil, 12, and Danielle Ann, 9. Fe’s daughter, the mother of the two children, works in Lucena City to help sustain their needs.

Both her grandchildren are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, another program of the DSWD providing conditional cash grants to poor families to support the needs on health, nutrition and education of children age zero to 18.

As the guardian of the two, she attends monthly Family Development Sessions and ensures that her grandchildren avail monthly health check-ups and meet the 85% monthly school attendance. The cash grants, according to her, helps in meeting the educational and health needs of the children.

“Malaking tulong din talaga sa amin ang Pantawid dahil bukod sa padala ng anak ko, kumikita lang din ako ‘pag may sideline na labada. Napakahalaga ng grant na natatanggap namin para sa mga pangangailangan ng mga apo ko,” she shared.

With all these tasks at home and in their community, Fe admitted that she gets tired sometimes. But for her, this is also an affirmation of her purpose in life—that is to serve.

“Kahit ako’y nahihirapan, nand’yan naman si Lord. Binibigyan niya ako ng lakas ng katawan para gawin ang lahat ng ‘to. At masaya naman ako at nagpapasalamat dahil may nagagawa pa rin ako kahit matanda na ako,” said Fe.

And for her, as long as she is of service to the people and the community, she’ll be a happy and contented woman.#

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