From living in a friend’s house, Rosalinda Marco’s family now lives in a sturdy and comfortable home they can call their own.

The journey to this new house is long and tiring; and for 50-year-old Rosalinda, this house is proof of how hard they worked and how determined they are to achieve their dream of a better life.

“‘Nung nagkaroon kami ng kaunting pera, hindi kami nagdalawang isip na magpatayo ng bahay. Kahit gawa lang ‘yon sa kawayan, iyon ang aming pinagsimulan,” shared Rosalinda, a resident of Brgy. San Francisco in Lipa City, Batangas.

Building their home and their life

When they were starting their family, Rosalinda and her husband, Ferdinand, lived with Rosalinda’s friend. Though both of them wanted a house of their own, they had no choice at that time.

Ferdinand’s income as a tricycle driver and Rosalinda’s income selling peanuts were almost just enough for the needs of their three children.

“Walang wala talaga kami noon. Nakakakain naman kami ng tatlong beses sa isang araw pero talagang tipid na tipid,” shared Rosalinda.

Despite their situation, they still dreamt for their children.

“Gusto talaga naming mapag-aral sila at makapagtapos sila para hindi sila matulad sa amin. Kapag may pinag-aralan, habambuhay nilang madadala ‘yun, hindi sila maghihirap,” she shared.

In 2012, their family became a beneficiary of the national government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. This program provides conditional cash grants to qualified poor families to support the needs on health, nutrition and education of children zero to 18 years old.

For Rosalinda, this paved the way for them to become more confident in working for their dreams.

With some of the money from the cash grants they initially received as a beneficiary of the program, Rosalinda decided to buy a pig. A few months after, the sales of the pig provided them enough profit to finally start building their home made of bamboo.

Though they understood that the grants must be used for the education and health needs of their children, having a house they can call their own, no matter how small, is important for them to better take care of their children.

Improving their home, improving their life

Through the years, the cash grants they receive from the Pantawid Pamilya are enough to provide for the needs on health and education of their children. That’s why most of their income is allotted to their other needs, such as saving for the improvement of their home.

“Natuto rin ako sa aming FDS (referring to Family Development Sessions) ng tamang pagba-budget ng pera at tamang pag-aalaga sa mga bata,” shared Rosalinda.

Ferdinand was able to secure a job as a meat vendor in the city’s public market. This job gave him a more stable income as compared to being a tricycle driver. This job also paved the way for him to meet someone who helped them get started with the business of dog breeding.

Meanwhile, Rosalinda invested in a sewing machine that she uses to sew sofa and car seat covers.

Through their hard work, they are able to send their older children to college and at the same time, fund the improvement of their home.

Today, their eldest, John Vincent, has finished college and is currently working and helping the family. Veronica Jane, the second child, is in second year taking up BS Accountancy. The youngest, Joemar Vince, is in Grade 11.

They also reside in a concrete and comfortable home.

“Hindi pa man abot-kamay, pero natatanaw na namin ang pagkamit ng aming mga pangarap,” shared Rosalinda happily.

This year, they are set to graduate as a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya program as Joemar Vince turns 18 years old. Though Rosalinda admits she is sad to let go of the help from the government, she is also very happy with all the opportunities the program provided to them along the way.

“Sobrang malaki ang naitulong sa amin ng programa. Sa aming pagtatapos sa programa, panatag kami na tuluy-tuloy naming mapag-aaral hanggang makatapos sa kolehiyo ang dalawa pa naming anak na nag-aaral,” she shared with pride.# [with reports from JJFlor]