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“Mama, ayaw ko nang pumasok.”

Melody Nicoleta, 31, has heard this a dozen times from her children. She is always disheartened to hear this as she wants nothing but to send all three children to school. However, she cannot blame them most of the time.

Melody and her family lives in Brgy. Sta. Teresita in Guinayangan, Quezon Province. Their house is located amidst coconut trees, their main source of income. Though they are thankful for the gift of their environment, the story becomes different when the rainy season comes.

“Kapag maulan, talagang maputik ang daanan. Minsan umaabot hanggang tuhod ang putik. Kaya ang mga tao ay nahihirapan talaga. Kaya ‘yung mga anak ko, tinatamad na ring pumasok,” shared Melody.

She added that whenever it rains, it is a hassle for the children to go to school. They have to bring with them their uniform and shoes in the morning so that they can change their clothes and start their classes with clean clothes. Other children would go to school barefooted.

“Yung mga anak ko, hinahatid ko talaga papuntang school para lang pumasok. ‘Yung isa, binababa ko sa likod para hindi s’ya madumihan at hindi na tamarin,” said Melody.

For Melody and her husband, Alfredo, sending their children to school is important as this is how they see them being able to have a better life in the future. After all, they are currently being provided for by the government. Their family is a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) where their children are being provided support for their education.

Excited to go to school

This school year, Carla Jane and Mark Bryan, Melody’s children, are both excited to go to school. The excitement is far from the story Melody has been hearing from her children in the previous school years. Thanks to the newly-completed pathway that runs from the entrance of their barangay in Brgy. Dungawan Central down to the cluster of houses in their sitio.

“Maganda na po ang daan, maalwan na pong maglakad,” shared Carla Jane, who is now in Grade 5.

Melody cannot help but be proud of this new story as she has been an active player in the completion of the pathway.

The pathway is constructed by the community residents of Brgy. Sta. Teresita through the funding of the DSWD’s Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program.

The said program uses the community-driven development approach where it involves the community residents in the development of their respective communities. The residents identify their most pressing needs, propose for the implementation of the project and work together in the construction and later on maintenance of the project.

“Ako po ang head ng procurement team, kami ‘yung nag-canvass ng mga materyales na gagamitin para sa pathway,” said Melody.

She added that the residents in the barangay worked together in the completion of the pathway. And what she appreciates most is that even those residents who will not be directly benefitting from the pathway did not think twice about helping them.

“Nagbotohan kami sa barangay, at kahit ‘yung mga nakatira sa hindi dadaanan ng pathway ay bumoto sa paggawa nito. Alam nila at nararamdaman nila na mas kailangan talaga namin ang proyekto,” gratefullyshared Melody, who added that the pathway also benefits residents of two other neighboring barangays.

For Melody, this is what she appreciates the most about what was taught to them by the process they underwent in the Kalahi-CIDSS implementation. All of their voices were heard and as a result, every resident in the barangay treated the project as their own.

Ensuring a good path for the children

The completion of the pathway has benefitted school children directly, but for Melody and the rest of the residents in the barangay, it is still the children who will benefit from this in the years to come.

“Maraming kabuhayan ang natutulungan dito. Katulad sa amin, mas nakakatipid kami sa pagba-biyahe ng kopra sa bayan ngayong nakakapasok na ang motorsiklo dito sa amin. Halos kalahati ang natitipid namin ngayon kumpara noon na inuupa namin sa kalabaw,” said Melody, who added that a sack of copra would cost them 50 pesos to transport before.

Other than farmers like them, storeowners also save on the cost of transportation of their goods to their barangay, which make the prices of commodities a little cheaper.

With these, families are able to bring home more income to support their needs, particularly the school needs of the children.

“Malaking bagay po ‘yung natitipid namin, naibibili na namin ng ibang pangangailangan o di kaya ay dagdag na pagkakakitaan katulad ng baboy. ‘Yung pangangailangan naman po nila sa school, nasasagot na ng 4Ps,” shared Melody.

The new pathway gave Melody more hope for her children.

“Mas positibo kaming mag-asawa na matutupad ang pangarap namin para sa aming mga anak, lalo na ngayon at wala nang sagabal sa amin para kumita,” she shared with pride. It may still be a long way for Melody as her youngest is only four years old; however, she is positive that this path is a good one not only for his family but for the rest of the people benefitting from this pathway.#

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