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No disability can hinder a parent’s dreams

Rhodora does all things without thinking about her disability, especially when talking about her dreams for her children.

“Ipinanganak po akong may kapansanan sa kamay at paa. Pero hindi po ito naging hadlang para mangarap at magsumikap para sa pamilya ko,” shared Rhodora Gallego, 46, a resident of Brgy. Olaes in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite Province.

Especially that her children are all honor students, Rhodora vowed to work hard to provide for their needs. She and her husband, Vinedo supported them through selling breakfast in the neighborhood. Admittedly, this did not provide sufficient income to answer all of their needs.

In 2012, however, Rhodora’s family was given an opportunity to support their children better. Without second thoughts, she grabbed the opportunity with the only goal of ensuring that all her children remain in school.

Nakadepende ang lahat kung paano natin pagyayamanin ang ibinigay sa atin,” said Rhodora, who started to turn their lives differently since they became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Working hard for their children

It was a memorable experience when Rhodora accepted her first payout as a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in March 2013.

“Tuwang-tuwa po ako noon kasi tamang-tama na mabibilhan ko na ng mga gamit yung mga anak kong nag-aaral. Noong time po kasing iyon, walang-wala po talaga kami,” shared Rhodora.

In the Pantawid Pamilya program, beneficiaries are provided with cash grants in exchange of the families’ compliance to the program conditions on health and education. These include the 85 percent monthly attendance of children in school and monthly preventive health checkups.

Despite the cash assistance, Rhodora understood that the cash from the program is not enough to support all their needs. Therefore, she and her husband decided to do something for their children.

“Nagsimula pong magtrabaho ang asawa ko bilang construction worker, at ako naman po ay kahit papaano ay nakapagtabi para makapagsimula ng maliit na negosyo,” she said.

She started vending for snacks in their barangay so she could help support for the other needs of her children. Later, she was able to save enough to increase the food items she sells in the neighborhood.

A sacrifice that turned into a good thing

There was a time when Rhodora was not able to receive cash grants from Pantawid Pamilya due to the change of mode of payment of the grants. From receiving grants through an over-the-counter method, beneficiaries were applied to get individual cash cards from Land Bank of the Philippines. The new mode of payment enabled a more convenient and safer release of grants as the money from the program are directly credited to their respective cash cards.

Despite not receiving anything for eight months, Rhodora continued to religiously follow the conditions of the program since she believed that going to school and getting checkups are not simply conditions so they can receive cash grants. With or without the cash grants, these are her responsibilities as a parent and these will benefit her children and her family in the end.

With this mindset, she budgeted her husband’s income and her minimal profit from vending food to support her children.

After eight months, she received the cash assistance that was due to her family. She received more or less PhP8,000, an amount equivalent to her family’s compliance to the program conditions for the whole period.

“Dahil sobra-sobra naman po ito para sa pangangailangan namin, naisip ko na gawing pang-hanapbuhay ito. Hindi po namin ito inutang, kaya hindi kami mamomroblema kung paano babayaran,” shared Rhodora, who used some of the capital to start her longanisa business.

She started with just 10 kilograms and sold these every Sunday. After a couple of months, she expanded her goods by also selling pork and beef. Soon, she was able to open her small carinderia.

“Nagtulungan kaming mag-asawa para lumago itong aming karinderya. Tumigil s’ya sa pagtatrabaho sa construction para mabantayan namin itong negosyo, pati na rin ang aming mga anak,” she shared.

With their hard work, they are able to add other items in the carinderia including charcoals and toys. They are also able to furnish their home with appliances such as a television set and buy a second-hand owner-type jeep that they use for their business.

Good things come to those who persevere

Rhodora and her husband are glad that they are able to support their needs, especially that their eldest, Vincent, is already in college.

“Nagsumikap po kami para sa mga anak namin. Lahat po sila ay honor student. Doon po kami kumukuha ng lakas. Kaya nagpursige po ako sa buhay na kailangan maibigay ko yung pangangailangan ng mga anak ko sa pag-aaral para patuloy sila mag-aral,” she said.

Today, Vincent is a graduating student of Bachelor of Industrial Technology Major in Electronics at Cavite State University – Carmona. Their other sons, Van Rudolf and Vince Jarrold, are in Grade 10 and Grade 7 respectively while Renz Aaron is in Grade 1.

Looking back, the turn in their lives may have started in the PhP8,000 cash they received from the program. However, for Rhodora and her family, their success cannot be credited on this opportunity alone.“Akala ko po noon, hindi na matatapos ang hirap. May kaunting hirap pero sa wakas, nakakaranas na po kami ng ginhawa. Gusto pa po naming makaipon para po pagdating ng panahon, may maipundar po kami at hindi magiging ganoon kahirap sa buhay,” shared Rhodora, who does not stop working hard every day for her dreams for her children.# with reports from DMLDelaPeña

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