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ABILITY TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES

Tagaytay PWDs engage in livelihood projects

A disability does not necessarily mean a ‘burden.’

This is proven by more than 30 persons with disability (PWDs), who are now entrepreneurs, of Tagaytay City in Cavite Province. Since the time they have engaged in various income-generating activities, they have found joy, appreciation and most importantly, value in their respective families and communities.

Members of the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) in the said city are known in their respective barangays for their longanisa and pastillas products. Since 2017, they have been selling these products after undergoing a livelihood training program under the Bottom-Up Budgeting approach as part of the city’s local poverty reduction action plan.

The said skills training was implemented using the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) model of the Department of Social Welfare and Development where participants are provided with capacities towards micro-enterprise development or gainful employment.

Salome Vargas, the public relations officer of PDAO, recalled that their business started when they attended a training on longanisa and pastillas making conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Other than longanisa, they were also taught on making other processed meat products including siomai and burger patties.

“Natuwa kami dahil maliban sa seminar, binigyan din kami ng puhunan ng DTI,” shared Vargas.

After the training, they immediately started their business with 30 other PWDs. They use a space in the barangay hall to make their products and despite challenges at the beginning, they were able to sustain the almost two-year run of their business.

Rising from the challenges

Learning the skills to make longanisa and pastillas is the easy part. The main challenge for the group is competing in the market.

“Ang sinasabi kasi ng iba, mahal ang produkto namin dahil nakabibili lang ng ¼ kilo sa halagang PhP35.00. Ang benta namin ay PhP60.00 kada ¼ kilo,” said Vargas.

The group admits that their products are more expensive; however, they keep the promise to their customers of a fresh and good quality product.

“Sinasabi namin na sa amin, sigurado ang karne. Siguradong malinis. Hindi rin kami gumagamit ng sapal (extenders such as cassava) at wala ring preservatives,” she added.

According to Vargas, they started with most of their members’ families as their customers. However, they soon were able to get the hearts of other residents in the community.

They also now supply pastillas to schools. Vargas shared that the teachers trust their products since they see how they make them. They also make pineapple candies whenever the fruit is in season.

Helping persons with disability

Richelle Valdez, the project development officer of the SLP assigned in Tagaytay City, shared that based on internal audit, the business is generating sustainable income.

Vargas added that their income is deposited directly to their bank account. They are eyeing to use their income to expand their livelihood subject to DTI’s guidelines.

Maganda. Natutuwa kami dahil natutulungan nito ang mga mahihirap. Ang gusto namin ay mas lumago pa ito as mas makilala pa ang aming produkto para mas marami pang PWDs ang makinabang dito,” shared Gloria Lepardo, the president of the PDAO.

However, more than the income, the PWDs are more grateful to how their livelihood projects turned them into productive individuals for their association, their families and the community in general. # with reports from DMLDelaPeña

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