Mirasol Ariap can no longer recall how and when her friendship with Julie Sarabia started. It has been ages but all that she knows is that Julie is a hardworking mother of 14 children.
In a small shop near a highway at Brgy. Pulvorista in Kawit, Cavite is where Mirasol and Julie are usually seen after lunch. Along with other mothers who want to earn during their free time, the two make themselves busy by sewing and making rugs.
Julie used to be a plain housewife who rely on the meager income of her husband Wilson. They had a hard time getting through the day with the Php500.00 that Wilson is earning from working as a carpenter.
“Labing-isa na po ang anak namin nang dumating ang Pantawid Pamilya noong 2010. Hindi ko na rin po alam kung paano kaming nakararaos sa araw-araw noon. Ang kaunting kinikita po ni Wilson ay nauubos lamang pambayad ng utang”, recalled Julie.
The cash grant that they have been receiving eased the couple’s worry about their children’s schooling and other health needs. Julie never even thought that another door of opportunity would open for them after being with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
With the help of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), their association Samahang Kawiteñas was formed. The livelihood assistance that they received from the program was used to buy five sewing machines that they are now using in rug and bag making. They are now working on adding more products to make and sell.
An inspiration to others
From being a simple housewife who spent her afternoons at home, Julie is now earning PhP600.00 every week from making rugs. Insufficient it may seem but this has been helping them with their needs that could not be covered by the cash grants and Wilson’s income.
Julie proudly shared how they managed to send all of their children to school despite of them being a big family. Their diligence has even gained the respect and admiration of their neighbors and friends, including Mirasol.
“Kapag napunta ka sa bahay nila, iyong dingding nila ay puro picture ng batang naka-toga. Sinisikap talaga nilang mapag-aral ang kanilang mga anak kahit marami. Kasama rin si Julie sa mga kumumbinsi sa akin na sumali sa Samahang Kawiteñas kaya heto ako ngayon, kumikita na rin sa pagsasalansa ng basahan”, Mirasol said.
Making it possible
The journey has always been tough for Julie and her family but she is confident that their hardwork will soon pay off and that nothing is impossible for someone who dreams.
“Mas nagsisikap na kami sa buhay dahil alam naming hindi kami dapat lamang umasa sa Pantawid. Kung hinayaan kong nasa bahay lamang ako, hindi ko malalamang mayroon pa akong magagawang mas kapaki-pakinabang bukod sa pagiging ina”, said Julie.