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‘Not Alone’

A story of a solo parent from Baras, Rizal

For 50-year-old Emilyn Ganapin being the breadwinner of their family while her husband takes care of their children is totally fine. But when her husband started hitting and abusing her physically, she thought it was too much and decided that she had enough of him.

Nilakasan ko po yung loob ko na ireport siya sa barangay at humingi ng protection order. Pinalayas ko rin ang asawa ko sa bahay namin. Pero nagalit ang mga kamag-anak n’ya at sumugod sa bahay at pinagsisira ang bahay at mga gamit namin. Talagang bumagsak yung bahay namin,” Emilyn said.

Despite the physical and emotional bruises, Emilyn still pursued a life with her three children. Emilyn rebuilt their home using blankets or curtains as walls and used metal sheets as roof.

Naaawa ako sa mga anak ko noon, lalo kapag umuulan at malakas ang hangin, talagang mababasa ka, pero wala akong naririnig na reklamo sa mga anak ko. Naiintindihan nila yung kalagayan namin,” Emilyn said.

Day and night, Emilyn worked harder to meet the needs of her family. She worked as a sales agent, a housemaid, a baby sitter and even cooks and sells ‘suman’ during the day.  At night, Emilyn sells ‘balut.’

But Emilyn’s efforts seem to be not enough as she could barely meet the needs of her family. Thus, her eldest eldest child, 25 years old Remielyn Ann, decided to stop studying after high school and started working instead.

Ma, nakikita ko kasi na nahihirapan ka kaya magtatrabaho na ko para matulungan kita,” Remielyn explained to her mother.

Emilyn could not do anything but to let her child go with her decision. Deep inside her, she knew she could not afford sending Remielyn Ann to college.

Getting better

In 2009, Emilyn’s family was identified as one of the poor households in their barangay under Listahanan, the household targeting system of DSWD. In 2014, their family qualified to be one of the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“Naging monitored child po yung bunso kong si Rommel at naging malaking tulong po ang natatanggap namin sa programa sa pag-aaral niya,” said Emilyn.

Emilyn also shared that with her attendance in the Family Development Sessions, she learned how to handle their finances properly.

“Yung sa programa po, nakalaan na yun sa pag-aaral ng mga anak ko. Yung kita ko sa pagtitinda yun ang para sa pang –araw-araw na pagkain, tapos yung kita sa pagbabantay ng bata ay para sa bayarin at iba pang gastusin,” Emilyn said.

Emilyn also became a Pantawid parent leader wherein she is able to share her situation with her co-beneficiaries to give them courage. She was also able to encourage them to strive harder in life whatever the circumstances are.

“May napapayuhan din po ako na co-beneficiary na may naging karanasan po katulad ng sa akin, sinasabi ko sa kanila na sa una lang naman masakit, pero lilipas din yun, at lagi lang iisipin yung makakabuti para sa mga anak nila at hindi tumigil na magsikap,” shared Emilyn.

Indeed, Emilyn did not stop striving. Even though her eldest and her second child are now working to help her financially, she still accepted a baby-sitting job to have an additional income. Aside from being a distributor of mineral water and other frozen goods, she also has a reloading business.

Little by little, they were able to renovate their house to have sturdy walls and fixed roofing.

At present, Rommel is a grade 11 student in Baras National High School.  Emilyn is now confident that she can support his dream to become an engineer someday.

“Ang payo ko lang sa mga anak ko ay matuto sa hindi magandang pangyayari sa buhay namin, wag tularan yung hindi maganda at laging magsumikap na mapabuti ang kanilang magiging pamilya,” said Emilyn.

Emilyn felt better now with their family set-up. She may not have a partner but she has ‘partners’ in life who support her in her pursuit for a better life for her children.***

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