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Ready to stand on their own, finally

On her first payout, she bought a hamburger.

“Minsan lang makakain ng hamburger ang anak namin, kaya bumili ako ng isang piraso sa perang natanggap ko,” shared Jennifer Orozco, 37, as she recalled the first time she received the cash grants as a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2011.

According to her, the 500 pesos was spent on school supplies, milk, vitamins and medicines for her son plus the piece of hamburger meant to please her sickly son, Kayl, who was seven years old at that time.

Today, with humble pride and joy, Jennifer can guarantee being able to provide his only son his needs—a burger when he wants one but more importantly, a good education and a brighter future.

Jennifer, together with her husband, Raymundo, 45, shares their journey from being a family needing help even for their daily needs to a family who can finally stand on their own.


Starting small

Jennifer recalls that when they were starting their family, she and Raymundo would often fight about not having enough money to provide even for their small family.

Raymundo worked as an on-call carpenter while Jennifer sold fruits and vegetables harvested by her parents. They bought a bicycle, which they used to peddle vegetables in the neighborhood of Infanta, Quezon Province. But business did not go well after some time because of the competition in the area. Hence, they decided to Raymundo’s hometown, the island municipality of Burdeos in the same province, to start again.

Burdeos is one of the municipalities in the Polillo group of islands in Quezon Province that is accessible through a two to three-hour boat ride from the mainland. They moved to Sitio Butatalan in Brgy. Aluyon, a mountainous area in the said municipality.

“Si Kayl (referring to son) ay inenroll namin sa school ng mga katutubo. Isa hanggang dalawang oras ang kailangan n’yang lakarin para makapunta sa school,” shared Jennifer.

To provide for their needs, Raymundo borrowed a horse to help him with the farming. They maintain a garden to help them with their everyday consumption. Their house is made of nipa and bamboo. They do not even have their own sanitary toilet.

“Nagdesisyon kaming tumira sa bayan dahil malayo ang eskwelahan. Nagrenta kami ng bahay sa Poblacion at doon kami nagsimulang magtinda ulit ng mga gulay,” added Jennifer, who sells vegetables in the afternoon while waiting for Kayl to go out from school.

However, as they start a new life in the town proper, the family faced more expenses including the rent and Kayl’s increasing school expenses. Hence, they needed to double their efforts to go by.


The start of “Jenny’s”

In 2011, when they became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya, the family made sure to use the opportunity wisely.

“Dahil nasusuportahan ang pag-aaral at ang kalusugan ni Kayl, nagamit namin ang aming kita para sa pagsisimulang muli,” shared Jennifer.

Starting small, they purchased watermelons, garlic and onions from the mainland and brought these to the island. They started selling this in the town proper. Through the years, they have established trust with their supplier and the confidence of their customers. This made them decide to rent a small space in the town proper to sell their goods.

“Nakakadalo rin kaming mag-asawa ng buwanang FDS (Family Development Sessions). Dito namin natutunan ang maayos na pamamahala ng pera na malaki ang naitulong sa aming pamilya lalo na sa pagpapaunlad ng aming negosyo,” she shared.

From the usual vegetables and fruits, they have expanded to selling other grocery items including canned goods and basic commodities. They also offer wholesale goods for small commodity storeowners in the municipality.

Today, “Jenny’s” is a known grocery store in the municipality. The couple is also happy that they are able to employ five people in the store so they can also help their respective families.


The start of standing on their own

Now that the family is confident with a secure and sustainable source of income, the family is also confident that they can already provide for their needs, especially that of Kayl’s.

Beside their grocery store, the family is starting to invest on other things including constructing their own house and raising animals such as cattle, carabaos and horses. They also have two jeepneys and one tricycle.

According to Sevrens Rutaquio, the assigned Municipal Link who handles the family, the Orozco Family has already been tagged as self-sufficient. This means that the family can already stand on their own and is already able to provide for their needs without the help of the government.

As a result, the family is being recertified by the DSWD to exit from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. This means that even if Kayl is still 13 years old and the family is eligible to become a beneficiary of the program until Kayl reaches 18 or finishes high school, whichever comes first, the family is recommended to graduate from the program.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa programa dahil binigyan kami ng oportunidad na magsimula muli. Hindi lamang ang maayos naming pamumuhay ang naibigay nito sa amin, naging mas matiyaga kami at naging mas positibo sa pananaw namin sa buhay,” shared Jenny gratefully.

Even without the cash grants from the program, she is confident that they can support their small family, especially the good future they are dreaming for their only son.# with reports from SRutaquio & JOlaguir

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The sweet reward of not giving up

Fueled up by challenges to dream big for the family


Several times did Christian almost gave up on his dreams of a college education. However, a few months from now, he’ll be on stage to finally receive the symbol of the attainment of his dream—a college diploma.

Early on his life, 23-year-old Christian Luansing, a resident of Brgy. Bukal in Taysan, Batangas Province, had known the financial challenges of his family. Being the second in a brood of 14, he describes their life as “isang kahig, isang tuka.”

He relates that his mother gives birth to a child almost every year, so he understood that he needed to be the elder brother that he is. His father provides for their big family just through making barbecue sticks.

To not become a burden and still be in school, he decided to work as a helper in a store in the town proper when he was in Grade 6.

“Ginawa ko ito hanggang sa makatapos ako ng high school. Kahit marami akong hindi magandang karanasan sa pagtatrabaho, tiniis ko para makatapos ako,” shared Christian, whose dream became blurry once again when their eldest sibling decided to marry at a young age, instead of helping the family.

So when he graduated in high school, he definitely knew that college was impossible.


Getting the determination

“Sumubok akong mag-apply sa mga pabrika at sa mga fast food chains pero hindi ako pinalad na matanggap. Nahirapan akong makipagsabayan sa mga kalaban kong kahit papaano ay nakatuntong man lang sa kolehiyo,” he shared.

This gave Christian a challenge. He told himself that no matter what it takes, he’ll get himself to college. He went to Manila to be a helper in a store of a relative so that he can earn enough for his college education.

One thing unexpected happened, however, that changed the course of his life.

“Kung gusto mo daw pumasok ng college sabi ng taga munisipyo,” he recalled getting a call from his mother while he was busy in the store.

In his excitement, he went home to the province and submitted all the requirements.

Since their family is a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Christian qualified to be a grantee of the Expanded Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA). This is a program of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that aims to help at least one member of a Pantawid Pamilya household to finish college and get better-paying jobs in the future.

“Huwag ka nang pumasok, mahihirapan ka lang. Wag ka nang umasa sa scholarship na ‘yan at wala naman kaming pangtustos sa’yo. Mag-apply ka na lang sa pabrika para ma-regular ka,” he recalled his father telling him that time.

“Hindi ko alam kung magagalit ako sa kanya o hindi dahil imbes na palakasin ang loob ko ay kabaliktaran pa ang ginawa nila. Pero nag-enroll pa rin ako sa kursong BS Business Administration,” shared Christian.

The ESGPPA has supported his tuition, book allowance and even his daily allowance in Batangas State University. However, he admits that he still experienced problems financially.

“Minsan, kapag nasa school ako, wala ako sa sarili ko dahil naiisip ko ang sitwasyon namin sa bahay. Nagkasakit ang pangalawa sa nakababata kong kapatid kasabay ng pagsilang ng ika-13 kong kapatid. Nahihiya akong humingi ng pamasahe dahil alam kong pambili na nila ng bigas ‘yon,” he recalled.

At that instance, he again thought of forgetting about his dreams and take the advice of his father. But another experience fueled his desire to go on.

“Namatay ‘yung may sakit kong kapatid dahil hindi namin kayang dalhin sa ospital kaya umasa kami sa albularyo. Habang papunta kami sa ospital noong kinukumbulsyon na s’ya, pinangako ko sa kanya na magtatapos ako para hindi na kami maging isang pamilya na kahit ‘yung pagpapagamot lang kapag may sakit ay hindi namin magawa,” shared Christian, who still cannot control his tears when remembering this incident.

From then, he knew that he needed to finish his studies not only for his own sake but for his other siblings.


Surviving college

While his education is being supported by the ESGPPA, he still applied as a crew trainer in one of the fast food chains in their municipality to help his family.

Though he is a working student, he never forgets his priorities. He makes sure that he gets good grades. He is even the vice president of their Department in the university and a leader among other ESGPPA grantees in the school.

He is also glad that his parents have become supportive not only of his college education but also of educating the rest of his siblings. In fact, eight of them are in school now.

Christian cannot hide how great he is to the government for supporting his family, especially his college education and changing the views of his parents through the monthly Family Development Sessions.

“Hindi lang po pera ang naitulong ninyo sa amin, kundi ang aming magandang kinabukasan,” he shared gratefully.

He animatedly shares how he and his mother are excited about his graduation this June.

“Kapag napagkukwentuhan namin ni Mama, kami ay kinikilig dahil worth it ang lahat ng aming paghihirap. Hindi namin lubos maisip na sa dami naming magkakapatid ay makapagpapatapos ng isa sa kolehiyo,” he said.

With his graduation, Christian is more confident now.

“Ngayon ay mas may pag-asa na po akong makatulong sa pamilya ko. Napakahalaga po nito para sa amin,” shared Christian, who hopes that his story will inspire other beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya to strive despite their financial situation.#

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The highest honor—winning challenges and reaching dreams

Only a couple of houses away, Ryan sees his childhood home where he grew up with his three siblings. The home brings memories of happiness, but he has to stay with a relative for the time being just so he can reach his dreams.

“Nalulungkot po ako sa tuwing nakikita ko ‘yung bahay namin. S’yempre po gusto ko magkakasama kami nina tatay at ng mga kapatid ko,” he shared.

Ryan Christopher Bucad, 18, is the youngest of four siblings who are raised alone by their father. They are residents of Brgy. Payapa Ilaya in Lemery, Batangas Province.

Sonny, their father, is a farmer who takes home a very minimal amount to support the needs of the family. At times, he works as a construction worker, too.

“Yung mga kapatid ko po, hindi na nakatuntong ng high school dahil sa kahirapan namin. Kaya kung hindi po ako makikitira sa mga pinsan namin, baka hindi na rin po ako makapag-high school. Ganito rin po ang ginawa ng Ate ko para makaabot ng kolehiyo,” shared Ryan.

Standing in front of his classmates and batch mates, Ryan is very proud to deliver his speech. Last April 6, he graduated in Lemery Senior High School with the highest honors.

“Sulit lahat ng pagod at pagsasakriprisyo namin (referring to his father and his aunt),” shared Ryan, recalling the moment he was delivering his graduation speech.


For the sake of high school

Ryan admits that life is hard for the family, considering that it is only his father who works for the five of them. They no longer have communication with their mother, much more a financial support to at least augment their needs.

“Kapag humihingi ako noon ng panggastos sa project, hindi na lang umiimik si Tatay. Alam ko na kapag hindi na s’ya umiimik, wala talaga kaming pera,” he shared.

That’s why when he graduated in elementary, he gladly took an offer of a relative in a nearby municipality to live with them so that he can enroll in high school. After a year, he went back to their home. That’s the time they became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

As the only monitored child in the family, Ryan’s expenses in school were at least provided for. Plus, Ryan’s eldest brother, who had finished only Grade 6, was supporting even a little for the family. Hence, he can at least stay at home while studying in high school.

However, despite the support from the program and the continuous hard work of his father, Ryan Christopher admits to still having a hard time. The situation became even worse as his eldest brother is no longer able to work due to an injury he suffered from an accident.

“Tumira po ulit ako sa isa ko pang tiyahin para makapagpatuloy ng pag-aaral,” shared Ryan, who added that even though the house is only within walking distance from their home, he still feels sad about the fact that he is physically away from his father and his siblings.

“Pero nagsakripisyo po ako, kahit kulang ang baon ko, okay lang. Pinagkakasya ko para sa lahat ng mga gastusin ko,” he shared.

Ryan’s school is far from their home, which takes him around P40-P50 for a back and forth tricycle or jeepney ride daily. His P80 daily allowance is usually just about enough to buy him a meal for lunch and pay for contributions for class projects.

“Nahihiya na rin ako minsang humingi ng dagdag kasi minsan, may utang pa nga kaming bigas, kailangan na naman naming umutang ulit para may makain. Sa almusal , nasanay na rin akong iulam ang ang kape sa kanin,” he shared.

All of these sacrifices only fueled his desire to finish his studies. He made sure that he gets good grades all the time. He is confident that his education will help his family get out of their situation.


Taking the responsibility

As Ryan sees his siblings without jobs because of their lack of education, Ryan feels that the responsibility to help his family is on his shoulders. This responsibility, he is glad to take over.

For Ryan, he is lucky to have been given various opportunities including having a hardworking father, a helpful brother, a caring guardian and a support from the government through the Pantawid Pamilya.

“Mag-aaral po akong mabuti para maging isang guro. Kapag nakatapos ako, sisiguruhin kong matutulungan ko sina tatay, ang mga kapatid ko at ang guardian ko (referring to his aunt),” he positively shared.

Today, Ryan is applying for various scholarships so that he can enroll in college. He knows, however, that college will be a bigger challenge, with or without a scholarship.

Also, since he is the sole child-beneficiary of the Panatwid Pamilya in the family, his senior high school graduation means his family’s graduation from the program. Hence, he will no longer be receiving financial assistance for his education.

Despite this, Ryan does not lose hope. Instead, he chooses to accept the challenge and win it.

“Continue to believe, continue to aspire and continue to live with the knowledge we have acquired,” just like this line from his graduation speech, Ryan knows that he will soon be a teacher and be the key towards his family’s success. For him, this is the highest honor he can ever earn.# with reports from FASalazar

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11 fiber glass boats ready to set sail in Buenavista

Eleven fiber glass boats that measure 30 ft long were recently turned over to a fisherfolk organization in Buenavista, Quezon. This is the result of the pilot implementation of the livelihood and enterprise (L&E) modality of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS).

The Samahan ng Mangingisda sa Coastal Areas ng Bayan ng Buenavista (SAMACAB) received a P1.7 million grant worth of skills training and materials for fiber glass boat fabrication. Among the 217 members of SAMACAB, 48 were able to attend the skills training. A total of 11 boats were distributed to 11 beneficiaries from the nine coastal barangays of the municipality.

Increasing the fisherfolks’ income

Kalahi-CIDSS L&E modality follows the community empowerment activity cycle. For the fiber glass boat fabrication project, the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) started by conducting participatory situational analysis and social investigation in the following coastal barangays: Bukal, Cabong, Cawa, Hagonghong, Mabutag, Manlana, Pinamasagan, Sabang Piris, and Wasay Ibaba.

The community volunteers, led by BSPMC Chairperson Jennifer Iglesia, have identified the major challenges faced by the fisherfolks; primarily, the high cost of boat and net rentals. Based on the result of their data gathering, the fisherfolks in Buenavista only take home P4,975 a month and that 5% of their income covers operational expenses.

SAMACAB President Edgardo Magpayo explained that their measly income is also due to the lack of opportunity to catch more fish as the boats they are using are too small to reach fishing grounds where the so-called first class fishes can be caught. Big fishes like blue marlin, pampano, and tanigue which can only be caught farther out to the sea.  Magpayo expressed confidence that with their new fiber glass boat local fisherfolk would have better opportunity to catch these fish and earn bigger for their family and community as well.

Test of commitment

This is the first time for Kalahi-CIDSS to implement L&E projects through the community-driven development approach. During its regular implementation, subproject grants were mostly for community infrastructures such as farm-to-market roads, health stations, and water systems. Among the five pilot projects in Quezon, Buenavista’s fiber glass boat project is the first to have an official turn over.

“We went through a lot of challenges. Tears were even shed.” DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS Regional L&E Coordinator Sheryl Cabrera said that it has been a difficult process that has tested the commitment of the members of SAMACAB.

“One thing we realized is that in livelihood projects, it is not just about the physical structure; more important is the readiness of the organization to operate and maintain the project,” she said.

SAMACAB went through a series of consultation with Kalahi-CIDSS, the local government unit of Buenavista, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to agree on the specifications of the boat and conceptualize a model for the sustainability of its operation and maintenance. This has led to the 15-day skills training provided by BFAR.

Anastacio B. Habagat was one of the SAMACAB members who shared their implementation experience during the turnover ceremony held in Brgy. Manlana. He was one of the fisherfolks who fabricated the boats through labor of love.

“The chemicals have strong odor that we had to endure and that irritated our hands,” Habagat said. “From the 48 who attended the skills training, only 23 were left,” he added.

Organizational strengthening

Baby Jean Roldan, another member and recipient of one of the boats, said that aside from the physical completion, SAMACAB also worked hard to develop the organization to ensure the sustainability of the project. SAMACAB went through a series of capacity-building activities that included the formulation of its constitution and by-laws and the drafting of the organization’s work plan.

Part of the requirements of the project grant is for the organization to secure its registration with the Department of Labor and Employment and its accreditation with the Municipal Council. Both of these were accomplished by SAMACAB before the project was officially turned over.

“The challenges we faced have strengthened our organization. I recalled that during those times, all we did was go back to the guidelines that we have set.” Roldan was pertaining to an encounter they had with some community fisherfolks whom SAMACAB had refused membership due to their illegal fishing activities.

“With our by-laws, we will not go astray. If any problems arise, we know that the organization could always sit down to resolve them.” Roldan said.

For his part, SAMACAB Pres. Magpayo, who is also a barangay kagawad, affirms the organization’s responsibility not just to its members but to the environment that has become the source of their livelihood.

“The sea has always been good to us. I was born to a family of fisherfolks and one of my son is also a fisherman. I would still encourage the younger generation to pursue fishing.”

Magpayo added that the Barangay Council has passed resolutions that mandate the fisherfolk community of Manlana to protect the coast. “That way, I could be at ease that my son’s children can still benefit from the bounty of the sea.” #

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Mixed emotions for graduations

Graduation ceremonies bring eerie memories to 20-year-old Jose Gabriel.

In 2010, upon graduating from elementary, he found himself with his mother and four siblings running away at midnight from his drunkard father. At that time, he lost all hopes and dreams.

They went to Dolores town in Quezon Province to try to have a more peaceful life.

Four years later, a day before his high school graduation, he was asked to submit documents for a possible college grant. Feeling happy and blessed, Jose Gabriel felt a little bit strange that somehow, his dreams may even be attainable.

Today, only a couple of months away from his college graduation, he cannot believe that life can be very beautiful. He is nervous, however, especially that he is the first college graduate in their family.

Jose Gabriel Simogan, a resident of Brgy. Sta. Lucia in Dolores, Quezon, is a grantee of the Expanded Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA) of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). His family is a beneficiary of the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program since 2012.


The first college graduate in the family

Growing up with four other siblings under the care of only their mother, Jose Gabriel never thought that life will turn out beautifully for him. Since being parted with his father, his mother became the sole provider of the family.

“Lahat ng sideline ginawa na ni Mama. Naglalabandera, namamalantsa at namamasukan. Minsan, dalawang beses lang kami kumain,” he shared.

Despite this, he is fortunate that his mother believed in educating them. Jose Gabriel studied hard so as not to let her mother down. Thankfully, his hard work paid off as he is always included in the honor roll.

“Tumutulong din kami kay Mama dahil alam naming kapos na kapos pa rin. Nagtatrabaho kami sa karinderya ng kaibigan ni Mama para kahit papaano, hindi na n’ya iisipin ‘yung pangbaon namin. Minsan, pati school supplies nasasagot na rin,” said Jose Gabriel.

Their becoming a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya, according to him, opened a lot of opportunities for the family. As a monitored child, he gets P500 per month for his educational needs.

“Bawat sentimo sa pag-aaral ko ay mahalaga para sa akin. Nakaramdam ako ng gutom, napagod ako at nainitan sa paglalakad, minsan nauulanan pa para makatipid,” he shared.

He added that at times, he would choose not spending the money for his fare or his food because he knows he needs the money for his projects.

“Nakaranas din po ako ng pagmamaliit sa mga kaklase ko dahil kasama kami sa programa. Sabi nila, mahirap kami,” he recalled.

But this only challenged him to do better. He graduated in high school with honors—proving to his classmates that he can be “someone from nothing” who will turn out to be “someone special.”

As early as this time of his life, Jose Gabriel already feels very special. As the first college graduate in the family, he is confident that he is given so much opportunities to help his family, especially his two younger siblings.

“Yung dalawa kong nakatatandang kapatid, parehong hindi nakatapos at nagtatrabaho sa factory. Si Mama, hindi na makapagtrabaho dahil madalas na kung magkasakit. Pero ako, nabigyan ako ng opportunity na makapagkolehiyo. Gagamitin ko ito para maiangat ang pamilya namin,” he shared.


The challenge after graduation

Already picturing his college graduation, he cannot still believe that he has come to his dream. He’ll be graduating with a degree in Accountancy this June 2018 from Laguna State Polytechnic University.

“Kung tutuusin, hindi ko naisip dati na makakapagkolehiyo ako. Gustong-gusto kong magcollege dati kaya talagang naghahanap ako ng scholarship noon,” said Jose Gabriel, knowing that his mother surely cannot afford his higher education. His two elder siblings were not able to get a college education because of their financial problems.

Gratefully, he qualified for the ESGPPA, a college education grant for members of Pantawid Pamilya households. With the goal of improving the lives of poor families towards self-sufficiency, the DSWD has converged with other agencies to help achieve this.

The ESGPPA is a response to provide an opportunity for at least one member of a Pantawid Pamilya household to graduate from college. This provides higher chances for the family to improve their lives through a member’s employment in better-paying jobs.

After graduation, Jose Gabriel plans to take the licensure examination right away. He knows that this is another ticket for better opportunities for him. When he gets a job, his priorities include helping his two younger siblings to go to college, too.

“Gusto ko makapagtapos din sila kagaya ko. Mas marami ang magiging oportunidad kapag may sapat kang kakayahan na makukuha mo lang sa pagkokolehiyo,” he shared.

His two younger siblings have graduated from senior high school this year, and he hopes to help them enroll in college. With their senior high school graduation, their family will be graduating from the Pantawid Pamilya program as well.

As part of the policy of the Pantawid Pamilya program, a household-beneficiary will only be supported by the government until such time that the monitored children reach 18 years old or graduate from high school, whichever comes first.

This ‘graduation’ from the program also gives him doubts; however, he remains positive.

“Mas magiging mahirap po kasi malaking tulong po yung natatanggap namin mula sa programa. Pero kakayanin na po namin lalo na at magtatapos na ako ng kolehiyo,” a proud and happy Jose Gabriel shared.

The thought that the government has helped support their education, plus his college education, Jose Gabriel cannot be anymore grateful. He vows to succeed in life to make the investment of the government worth every centavo.# with reports from MCWatti

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Aileen’s secret to success 

“Bakit ka pa magtatrabaho? Malaki naman na ang natatanggap mo galing sa Pantawid kasama ng suweldo ni Romeo?”

This has been the usual question that Aileen Codizal has been hearing from the people that she knows. Rain or shine – whatever the weather could be, Aileen can be seen walking around their neighborhood  at  Brgy.  Dilao,  Balayan,  Batangas  to  offer  the  beauty  products  that  are  in  her brochures. But why does she really bother walking around to offer beauty products if the Pantawid Pamilya has been giving her enough to support her family’s needs?

Just before the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program came to their lives in 2012, they were just relying on the income of Romeo from working as a welder. Back then, Aileen was just at home looking after their children Rommel, Princess Jhoan and Roy Anthony.

“Malaking tulong ang natatanggap namin mula sa Pantawid Pamilya lalo noong mga panahong kinailangang  kong  itaguyod  ang aking mga anak nang  mag-isa.  Napakalaking  tulong ng  cash grant upang mas masuportahan ang pangangailangan nila. Nakakilala rin ako ng mga kaibigan sa Family Development Sessions na hindi ko nagagawa noon dahil ako ay nasa bahay lamang”, shared Aileen.

Prepared for the better 

Aileen is not only known for selling beauty products but also for being a good Parent Leader. If she is not busy with selling her beauty products, she will look for livelihood trainings that her co-beneficiaries can attend for free. She even shared that through the Alternative Learning System, she was also able to complete trainings on soap and tapa making. She is hoping that her learnings from those trainings will help her with the business that she likes to start.

Though Aileen admitted that the idea of the program ending soon scares her sometimes, she is happy of how it has turned her into the kind of person that she is now. She is also confident that her learnings from being a Pantawid Pamilya member will help her and her family in doing things on their own sooner or later.

Nothing beats hardwork

It is still indeed a long journey for Aileen and Romeo but they are sure that their hardwork and faith will keep them going. Just like any other parents who were not able to finish their schooling, they just simply dream of seeing their children graduate and get a better life.

The Php4,400.00 cash grant that Aileen’s family is receiving every two months from the program together with the PhP2,500.00 that Romeo is earning are really enough but why does Aileen still spend her afternoons selling her beauty products?

“Ang natatanggap namin mula sa Pantawid Pamilya ay tulong lamang po upang makatawid kami sa kahirapan. Naiitindihan rin po naming hindi ito pang-habangbuhay at kailangan pa rin naming magsumikap upang kami ay tuluyang umunlad sa buhay”, Aileen finally answered.

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