Jalajala duck raisers find confidence in reaching their dreams.

For three mothers, every morning is full of surprises.

Since 2017, other than their usual tasks as wives and mothers, their mornings are spent counting and gathering eggs from the ducks they are raising.

“Minsan, nakakakuha kami ng 80 piraso, may 60 o 50. Minsan, 30. Meron ding dalawa lang at meron ding araw na wala talaga,” shared Imelda Llarena, 42, a resident of Brgy. Bagumbong in Jalajala, Rizal Province.

Cristina Libato, 55, and Norita Dolin, 54 share the same experiences.

But for the three of them, no matter if they get none or 30 or 80, every day raising their ducks is a blessing. What is important for them is that they are now able to gain extra income to support their families, particularly the needs of their children.

Daily income for their immediate needs

Before, Imelda’s family had no day-to-day income since her husband works as a farmer, who waits several months before he can harvest and bring income to the family. Imelda stayed at home and would raise a pig or two whenever they could spare extra from their income. As such, sending their two children to school had been a problem, especially when it comes to their daily allowances.

Cristina, on the other hand, sews clothes from time to time to earn a living. Her husband juggles different jobs catching fish in the nearby lake, driving a tricycle and delivering vegetables.

“Noon, talagang hinahatiran namin ng baon ang mga bata kapag oras na ng recess. Dahil sa umaga, kailangan pang pumasada ng tatay nila bago kami may maibigay sa kanila,” shared Cristina, who have five children.

Norita is a security guard in the nearby school and her husband is a pastor. Their combined income is not sufficient to support their children, especially that some of them are in college already.

With their families’ situation, all of them qualified to be beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Through the program, they have been receiving cash grants since 2012 in support for the health and education of their children zero to 18 years old.

All three mothers admit that the support from the program has been a big help for their families. However, all of them understands that the Pantawid Pamilya only provides assistance, and should not become the only source of support, particularly for the education of their children.

“Kahit kami ay mahirap, may pangarap kami. Pangarap naming makapagtapos ang mga anak namin,” shared Norita, who has five children.

With their dreams for their children, they all continued working hard. Still, they are challenged by not having a regular source of income considering their children are all studying at the same time.

To address these problems, the DSWD provides livelihood opportunities prioritizing Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries like them through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). The SLP is a capacity building program that helps participants to improve their economic status through micro-enterprise development or employment facilitation.

The said program is implemented side by side the Pantawid Pamilya program to help beneficiaries achieve self-sufficiency, and ensure that they are able to provide for their needs even without the assistance of the government.

In 2017, these three mothers were among the 30 family-beneficiaries in the said barangay that were provided with 110 ducks to start their duck raising business.

“Noong umpisa, nahirapan kaming paitlugin ang mga itik. Mayroon ding mga namatay dahil tag-ulan noong naibigay ito sa amin. Pero noong nagsimula na silang mangitlog, nag-umpisa na rin kaming kumita,” shared Norita.

They sell the raw duck eggs for five to seven pesos each depending on the size. The sales gives their families a daily income that they are able to use to support their day-to-day needs.

Aside from selling raw eggs, all three of them are making salted eggs, especially when they harvest enough eggs in a week. The process to earn through this may be longer; however, this ensures that no eggs are wasted and that they earn more. They sell salted eggs for nine to ten pesos each.

Dreaming big

“Madaling pagkakitaan ito. Magandang negosyo. Kaya gusto namin dagdagan pa para mas lumago pa ang aming negosyo,” shared Cristina.

She said that the duck eggs ensure that they have enough money to support their children, especially now that her husband struggles with the daily catch of fish and the delivery of vegetables.

Imelda, on the other hand, already started reaping the results of how she has successfully managed her small livelihood. With her savings from selling the eggs for over a year, their family was able to buy a pig and start planting vegetables, which are helping them add more income to the family.

“Importante talaga sa isang binigyan ng kabuhayan na interesado ka para pagbutihin ito. Kami ay talagang interesado kasi matagal na naming gustong subukan ang pag-iitik,” said Imelda, who added that they plan to buy 100 more ducks once they start harvesting and selling their vegetables.

For the three of them, they will continuously work hard to ensure that their business will grow. As a start, they have engaged their families, particularly their husbands, in taking care of the ducks.

“Gusto po namin, hindi lang basta ibinigay sa amin ang kabuhayang ito. Gusto naming palaguin pa, para hindi lang kami ang makinabang dito dahil napakalaking tulong na nito sa aming pamilya,” said Norita, who also shared that they are planning to form an association to help other Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in their barangay to start the same livelihood.

The association will also help them find a regular market for their eggs, especially when they start harvesting more eggs in the barangay.

Imelda, Cristina and Norita are all grateful that with the care they have provided to their ducks and the livelihood that is provided to them, the ducks seem to be taking care of their families.

As they pick the precious eggs every morning, they become more certain that they can truly support their families, especially their big dreams for their children.***