DSWD’s feeding program boosts children’s performance in schools

Ms. Querubin during the sharing session at DSWD.

Ms. Querubin during the sharing session at DSWD.

Quezon City - “The performance of the daycare pupils improved, they gained their ideal weight,  their  absences were minimized,  while  parents became active in school activities.”

These are some of the positive changes observed by day care teacher, Jeannie Querubin,  since the  Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) started implementing the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) in Brgy. Lagro Day Care Center  in 2011.

Querubin  shared in her testimony  during the Monday  flag raising ceremony at  DSWD Central Office that the feeding program has enhanced the  awareness of parents and day care workers on proper nutrition  and hygiene.

“The nutritionist gives  healthy and affordable recipes and parents would cook them at home.  I have observed that the children are growing healthier each day.

One pupil who weighed 12 kilos reached 15 kilos in just  two weeks because of the feeding program,” Querubin explained.

“Proper hygiene, such as washing hands before and after eating, and brushing teeth after meals are also being taught in school,” she added.

Moreover, the Day Care Center has a vegetable garden wherein their produce is  used in the feeding program.

The feeding program is given to 80 day care pupils  during snack time from Monday to Friday.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that  school feeding programs are social safety nets providing educational and health benefits to vulnerable children, thereby increasing enrollment rates, reducing absenteeism, and improving food security at the household level.

“DSWD wants these children to become productive in school, that is why we want to ensure that they eat well so they can focus on learning,” expressed Sec. Soliman.

“The SFP  is effective in helping people most especially  the vulnerable families.

The program has not only improved the health status of children but it also refocused the perspective of parents in ensuring the well-being of their children,” Querubin ended.

As of July 30, 2014, some 1, 692, 843 day care pupils nationwide are benefitting from the SFP.

DSWD allocated a budget of P2.8 billion for the SFP  for year 2014 and is proposing P3.3 billion for 2015 covering 2,568,811 children.###

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DSWD’s feeding program boosts children’s performance in schools

Ms. Querubin during the sharing session at DSWD.

Ms. Querubin during the sharing session at DSWD.

Quezon City - “The performance of the daycare pupils improved, they gained their ideal weight,  their  absences were minimized,  while  parents became active in school activities.”

These are some of the positive changes observed by day care teacher, Jeannie Querubin,  since the  Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) started implementing the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) in Brgy. Lagro Day Care Center  in 2011.

Querubin  shared in her testimony  during the Monday  flag raising ceremony at  DSWD Central Office that the feeding program has enhanced the  awareness of parents and day care workers on proper nutrition  and hygiene.

“The nutritionist gives  healthy and affordable recipes and parents would cook them at home.  I have observed that the children are growing healthier each day.

One pupil who weighed 12 kilos reached 15 kilos in just  two weeks because of the feeding program,” Querubin explained.

“Proper hygiene, such as washing hands before and after eating, and brushing teeth after meals are also being taught in school,” she added.

Moreover, the Day Care Center has a vegetable garden wherein their produce is  used in the feeding program.

The feeding program is given to 80 day care pupils  during snack time from Monday to Friday.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that  school feeding programs are social safety nets providing educational and health benefits to vulnerable children, thereby increasing enrollment rates, reducing absenteeism, and improving food security at the household level.

“DSWD wants these children to become productive in school, that is why we want to ensure that they eat well so they can focus on learning,” expressed Sec. Soliman.

“The SFP  is effective in helping people most especially  the vulnerable families.

The program has not only improved the health status of children but it also refocused the perspective of parents in ensuring the well-being of their children,” Querubin ended.

As of July 30, 2014, some 1, 692, 843 day care pupils nationwide are benefitting from the SFP.

DSWD allocated a budget of P2.8 billion for the SFP  for year 2014 and is proposing P3.3 billion for 2015 covering 2,568,811 children.###

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Manicurist nails the secret to a beautiful future

 Analyn earns some cash by doing manicure/pedicure and from her sari-sari store

Analyn earns some cash by doing manicure/pedicure and from her sari-sari store.

Taguig City - Analyn Atienza is a 35-year-old nail technician. Everyday, she goes around the busy streets of Western Bicutan giving pedicures and manicures to different clients, who know her as an expert in pulling out ingrown toenails.

The eldest of six, Analyn has already experienced working as a helper, scavenger, and vendor in order to help her parents provide for their family’s basic needs.

Now with a family of her own, Analyn raises her five children with husband Romel,  a tricycle driver.

Together, they also run a sari-sari store from the P7,000 seed capital assistance they received from the Department of the Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). Through her engagement with the program, she has also been trained in basic business management.

 The business of beauty

In June 2012, through a DSWD partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Analyn participated in the “Ganda Mo, Hanapbuhay Ko” training on cosmetology.

With newly developed skills, Analyn now provides manicure and pedicure services just around the neighborhood which gives her extra income.

 The beauty of education

Analyn’s family is also among the 8,004 families from the city who belong to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, where she is active as a parent leader.

 She leads by example, and ensures that her fellow beneficiaries religiously comply with the conditions of the program such as sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers for check-up, and attending the monthly Family Development Session (FDS).

 “Nakakatuwa na napapaintindi ko sa kapwa ko benepisyaryo ‘yung kagandahan ng pagsunod sa kondisyon ng programa dahil kung tutuusin, hindi naman iyon para sa gobyerno kung ‘di para sa amin din (It feels good that I’m able to make my fellow beneficiaries understand the advantage of complying to the program conditions because they will benefit us),” Analyn said.

 After having been a Pantawid Pamilya member for five years, Analyn has grown to appreciate the value of education much more.

“Dahil sa Pantawid Pamilya, namulat ako sa kahalagahan ng edukasyon. Nag-enroll ako ngayon sa Alternative Learning System ng gobyerno bilang estudyante sa Grade 3 (Pantawid Pamilya made me realize the value of  education, thus, I enrolled myself in the government’s Alternative Learning System as a Grade 3 student),”  she shared.

 A beautiful future ahead

Growing up poor,  Analyn has had her share of trials. But all of these, she believes, have strengthened her.

With her active participation to FDSs conducted by DSWD, Analyn believes that she and Romel are becoming better spouses and parents.

She aspires for a better future for her children, one where they will not have to endure the difficulties she encountered.

 She hopes to save enough money for her children’s education. She is grateful that the DSWD is helping her realize this.

Returning to school, running the family business, and receiving continuous guidance through the FDS, Analyn believes that she can change the direction of her life toward a beautiful future ahead.

 “Kaya natin ang pagbabago basta’t alam nating gamitin sa tama ang tulong mula sa gobyerno (We can improve our lives as long as we put into good use the help given to us by the government),” Analyn said.   ###

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Manicurist nails the secret to a beautiful future

Analyn earns some cash by doing manicure/pedicure and from her sari-sari store

Analyn earns some cash by doing manicure/pedicure and from her sari-sari store.

Taguig City - Analyn Atienza is a 35-year-old nail technician. Everyday, she goes around the busy streets of Western Bicutan giving pedicures and manicures to different clients, who know her as an expert in pulling out ingrown toenails.

The eldest of six, Analyn has already experienced working as a helper, scavenger, and vendor in order to help her parents provide for their family’s basic needs.

Now with a family of her own, Analyn raises her five children with husband Romel,  a tricycle driver.

Together, they also run a sari-sari store from the P7,000 seed capital assistance they received from the Department of the Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). Through her engagement with the program, she has also been trained in basic business management.

 The business of beauty

In June 2012, through a DSWD partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Analyn participated in the “Ganda Mo, Hanapbuhay Ko” training on cosmetology.

With newly developed skills, Analyn now provides manicure and pedicure services just around the neighborhood which gives her extra income.

 The beauty of education

Analyn’s family is also among the 8,004 families from the city who belong to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, where she is active as a parent leader.

 She leads by example, and ensures that her fellow beneficiaries religiously comply with the conditions of the program such as sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers for check-up, and attending the monthly Family Development Session (FDS).

 “Nakakatuwa na napapaintindi ko sa kapwa ko benepisyaryo ‘yung kagandahan ng pagsunod sa kondisyon ng programa dahil kung tutuusin, hindi naman iyon para sa gobyerno kung ‘di para sa amin din (It feels good that I’m able to make my fellow beneficiaries understand the advantage of complying to the program conditions because they will benefit us),” Analyn said.

 After having been a Pantawid Pamilya member for five years, Analyn has grown to appreciate the value of education much more.

“Dahil sa Pantawid Pamilya, namulat ako sa kahalagahan ng edukasyon. Nag-enroll ako ngayon sa Alternative Learning System ng gobyerno bilang estudyante sa Grade 3 (Pantawid Pamilya made me realize the value of  education, thus, I enrolled myself in the government’s Alternative Learning System as a Grade 3 student),”  she shared.

 A beautiful future ahead

Growing up poor,  Analyn has had her share of trials. But all of these, she believes, have strengthened her.

With her active participation to FDSs conducted by DSWD, Analyn believes that she and Romel are becoming better spouses and parents.

She aspires for a better future for her children, one where they will not have to endure the difficulties she encountered.

 She hopes to save enough money for her children’s education. She is grateful that the DSWD is helping her realize this.

Returning to school, running the family business, and receiving continuous guidance through the FDS, Analyn believes that she can change the direction of her life toward a beautiful future ahead.

 “Kaya natin ang pagbabago basta’t alam nating gamitin sa tama ang tulong mula sa gobyerno (We can improve our lives as long as we put into good use the help given to us by the government),” Analyn said.   ###

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Women find worth in helping build community infra projects

Gina shares that being a "mere housewife" did not stop her in making a difference in her village.

Gina shares that being a “mere housewife” did not stop her in making a difference in her village.

Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte – Gina Pagente, 40, of Barangay Poblacion, attends to her clients day in and day out.

She goes around each day to provide manicure and pedicure to her loyal patrons.

She does these with all humility plus a big dazzling smile.

Gina is among the many women of today who are faced with the challenging realities of life, among which are some customs and traditions depriving women of opportunities to find their worth.

“Pero hindi na ganito ang sitwasyon ngayon (But this is a thing of the past),” exclaimed Gina.

Now, women in this town, including her, are empowered to rise above the stereotyping of yesteryears.

Patriarchal society

In a community of mixed cultures with different principles and traditions, conflict tends to brew within communities.

Gina said that the patriarchal concept in their community is still strong. The men are considered to be heads of the family while the women manage the household.

Seldom do women work or even participate in community activities. This practice is handed down from generations to generations.

Women become dependent on their husbands due to patriarchal beliefs in the community.

For families who are not well off, the practice is alarming as families nowadays need more than a pair of hands to provide for the family’s needs.

Rolly, Gina’s husband, works as a Civilian Security Staff for the local government. She related that she finds it difficult to budget his meager salary.

“Lalo akong nahihirapan mag- budget ‘pag tuwing delayed ang pag dating ng sweldo niya (It gets more difficult to make both ends meet when my husband’s salary is delayed),” she continued.

“Para makatulong sa panggastos ng pamilya ay nagtatrabaho ako bilang manikurista (To earn some money for my family, I work as a manicurist),” Gina added.

Slowly but surely, she was able to raise money to buy manicure/pedicure kit.  She decided just to do home service so she can still care of her children.

There were days, though, when she had no customers. Eventually, Gina had to stop the home service as she did not have the money to  buy her supplies.

She was again a stay-home mom, but she did not stop  finding means to be productive.

Finding joy in volunteer work

Out of curiosity, Gina decided to attend the  barangay orientation of the PAyapa at MAsaganang PAmayanan (PAMANA) Project under the Kapi-tBisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

After finding out about the program, Gina was drawn to Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA’s principle of community driven-development.  She found the program unique since it was the community members who would implement the program , including managing the funds.

Further, Gina liked the Kalahi-CIDDS because of the conduct of Participatory Situational Analysis (PSA), wherein the residents get to determine what projects to fund, depending on the community’s needs.

But what she embraced the most was the project’s  advocacy  for  equal rights and opportunities for men and women.

The Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA is undertaken in conflict-affected areas as a strategy to promote peace. And as part of its program principle, it  advocates gender equality in the project implementation. Jobs were offered to both men and women.

Empowerment and employment opportunities

Brgy. Poblacion started to implement a drainage canal project to address the perennial flash floods in the town. People were hired to work on the project, and Gina was fortunate enough to be hired as a timekeeper at the site, earning P200 a day.

“Ang maganda sa Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA ay nabibigyan din ng pagkakataong makapagtrabaho sa mga infrastructure projects ang kababaihan kasama ang kalalakihan. Walang diskriminasyon (One good thing about Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA is that it gives opportunities for both men and women to participate in the construction of infrastructure projects. There is no discrimination),” Gina said.

In the four days that she worked as a timekeeper, Gina was able to raise enough money to buy a new nail polish kit.

Soon enough, she was able to resume her manicure business which is now her extra job.

Gina thanks Kalahi-CIDSS for all the opportunities she had in being part of the program.

“Sa dami ng problema namin sa buhay, ang Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA ang nagbigay ng pag-asa sa amin na kaya naming maiangat ang aming buhay. Kaya namin ang pagbabago (With all the problems we have in our lives, Kalahi-CIDSS gave us hope to improve our lives. We can make the change),” Gina said with conviction.

As another way of giving back to the program, she also helps out in the preparation of food for the workers.  By volunteering her services, Gina believes she can encourage  others to use their free time to improve their community.

To date, Gina is among the 116 woman- laborers who have regular jobs  under Kalahi-CDSS PAMANA  in the region.  ###

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Women find worth in helping build community infra projects

Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte – Gina Pagente, 40, of Barangay Poblacion, attends to her clients day in and day out.

She goes around each day to provide manicure and pedicure to her loyal patrons.

She does these with all humility plus a big dazzling smile.

Gina is among the many women of today who are faced with the challenging realities of life, among which are some customs and traditions depriving women of opportunities to find their worth.

“Pero hindi na ganito ang sitwasyon ngayon (But this is a thing of the past),” exclaimed Gina.

Now, women in this town, including her, are empowered to rise above the stereotyping of yesteryears.

Patriarchal society

In a community of mixed cultures with different principles and traditions, conflict tends to brew within communities.

Gina said that the patriarchal concept in their community is still strong. The men are considered to be heads of the family while the women manage the household.

Seldom do women work or even participate in community activities. This practice is handed down from generations to generations.

Women become dependent on their husbands due to patriarchal beliefs in the community.

For families who are not well off, the practice is alarming as families nowadays need more than a pair of hands to provide for the family’s needs.

Rolly, Gina’s husband, works as a Civilian Security Staff for the local government. She related that she finds it difficult to budget his meager salary.

“Lalo akong nahihirapan mag- budget ‘pag tuwing delayed ang pag dating ng sweldo niya (It gets more difficult to make both ends meet when my husband’s salary is delayed),” she continued.

“Para makatulong sa panggastos ng pamilya ay nagtatrabaho ako bilang manikurista (To earn some money for my family, I work as a manicurist),” Gina added.

Slowly but surely, she was able to raise money to buy manicure/pedicure kit.  She decided just to do home service so she can still care of her children.

There were days, though, when she had no customers. Eventually, Gina had to stop the home service as she did not have the money to  buy her supplies.

She was again a stay-home mom, but she did not stop  finding means to be productive.

Finding joy in volunteer work

Out of curiosity, Gina decided to attend the  barangay orientation of the PAyapa at MAsaganang PAmayanan (PAMANA) Project under the Kapi-tBisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

After finding out about the program, Gina was drawn to Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA’s principle of community driven-development.  She found the program unique since it was the community members who would implement the program , including managing the funds.

Further, Gina liked the Kalahi-CIDDS because of the conduct of Participatory Situational Analysis (PSA), wherein the residents get to determine what projects to fund, depending on the community’s needs.

But what she embraced the most was the project’s  advocacy  for  equal rights and opportunities for men and women.

The Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA is undertaken in conflict-affected areas as a strategy to promote peace. And as part of its program principle, it  advocates gender equality in the project implementation. Jobs were offered to both men and women.

Empowerment and employment opportunities

Brgy. Poblacion started to implement a drainage canal project to address the perennial flash floods in the town. People were hired to work on the project, and Gina was fortunate enough to be hired as a timekeeper at the site, earning P200 a day.

“Ang maganda sa Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA ay nabibigyan din ng pagkakataong makapagtrabaho sa mga infrastructure projects ang kababaihan kasama ang kalalakihan. Walang diskriminasyon (One good thing about Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA is that it gives opportunities for both men and women to participate in the construction of infrastructure projects. There is no discrimination),” Gina said.

In the four days that she worked as a timekeeper, Gina was able to raise enough money to buy a new nail polish kit.

Soon enough, she was able to resume her manicure business which is now her extra job.

Gina thanks Kalahi-CIDSS for all the opportunities she had in being part of the program.

“Sa dami ng problema namin sa buhay, ang Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA ang nagbigay ng pag-asa sa amin na kaya naming maiangat ang aming buhay. Kaya namin ang pagbabago (With all the problems we have in our lives, Kalahi-CIDSS gave us hope to improve our lives. We can make the change),” Gina said with conviction.

As another way of giving back to the program, she also helps out in the preparation of food for the workers.  By volunteering her services, Gina believes she can encourage  others to use their free time to improve their community.

To date, Gina is among the 116 woman- laborers who have regular jobs  under Kalahi-CDSS PAMANA  in the region.  ###

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Single mother weaves new chance at life

Madalag, Aklan - Joana Nabalde, 27, of Brgy. Sta. Catalina  has had various problems come her way in the past two years.

Despite her youth, she has gone through more than other women twice her age – losing a child to an illness, being abandoned by her husband,  and taking care of her  two children singlehandedly.

Joana admits that her experiences for the past couple of years almost broke her.

“Akala ko, wala akong kakayahang makagawa (I thought I did not have the capacity to do anything),” Joana said teary-eyed, describing how her self-esteem crashed after being abandoned by her husband.

According to her, she would have been completely devastated if not for the arrival of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) in their town.

New chance

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). As a community-driven development project, it involves citizens in the development process by ensuring that they are active participants in identifying and solving local poverty issues.

One of the selected sub-projects implemented here is the provision of Abaca handicrafts trainings, in partnership with PIÑA MANTRA.

The handicrafts training was implemented as part of the Gender Incentive Grant (GIG) provided by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) through the Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines (MCA-P) to Kalahi-CIDSS to help resolve gender issues that contribute to local poverty issues.

Aside from Abaca handicrafts, the GIG also provided plumbing and welding trainings for women who were interested in taking part in these.

Joana, with 59 other women, was able to join the handicrafts training.

She said her being part of the training and volunteering in the Kalahi-CIDSS formed part of the first steps she took to move on with her life.

She recalls thinking, “Ako na lang ang mag-aalaga sa mga anak ko (I will take care of my children myself).”

Being a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer, she became more active in her community, resulting in her Barangay Captain entrusting her with more responsibilities, including serving as the Barangay Representative in the municipality, roles which she accepted although she was reluctant at first.

Part of her reluctance stemmed from the fact that some people are doubtful of her abilities.

Joana said that some fellow villagers talked behind her back.

She narrated, “Sinasabi ng mga tao na ‘di naman daw ako naka-graduate ng high school. Wala raw akong alam, walang kakayahan (People say that I am just a high school undergraduate. I don’t know anything and have no skills).”

These comments, according to Joana, humiliated her at first.

“Minsan, nahihiya na akong pumunta sa munisipyo kasi parati na lang ako sinasabihan ng mga tao (I sometimes get embarrassed to go to the municipal hall because of what people are saying).”

Eventually, however, she was able to tune out these negative comments, thanks in part to the support of her Barangay Captain and her increasing confidence through her volunteerism in Kalahi-CIDSS.

“Nawala na ang hiya ko (My shyness waned),” Joana said with a small smile.

Completing the training is a source of great pride for her.

Joana said, “Na-experience ko kung paano makatanggap ng diploma. Natakot ako, pero naging masaya rin. Ganito pala ang graduation na tinatawag (I got to experience what it’s like to receive a diploma. I was scared, but it turned out well. So this is what they meant by graduation),” she said with a big grin.

She added, “Sinasabihan kasi nila ako na wala akong diploma.  Ayan, may diploma na ako (They keep telling me that I don’t have a diploma. Now I do).”

Joana is now getting ready to apply her new skills by working in a handicrafts company in their town.

She shared, “Excited na ako magtrabaho. Nag-pa-practice ako mag-isa sa bahay (I am excited to work. I practice at home).”

When asked the most important lesson she learned in Kalahi-CIDSS, Joana had this to say: “Mapapakita ko na sa ibang tao na kaya ko na. Kaya ko nang mabuhay na wala ang asawa ko. Noon, lagi lang ako umaasa sa asawa ko. Pero noong naranasan ko na ang hirap, kaya ko pala. Kapag may mga tao na sumusuporta sa iyo, kaya mo  pala  (I can show other people that I can stand on my own two feet. I can live without my husband. In the past, I always relied on him. However, when I went through hardships, I learned I can do things without him. You can make it when you have people supporting you).”

She concluded, “Nalaman ko sa Kalahi-CIDSS na may silbi ako (I learned in Kalahi-CIDSS that I have value).” ###

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Single mother weaves new chance at life

Joana Nabalde weeps as narrates her story

Joana Nabalde weeps as narrates her story.

Madalag, Aklan - Joana Nabalde, 27, of Brgy. Sta. Catalina  has had various problems come her way in the past two years.

Despite her youth, she has gone through more than other women twice her age – losing a child to an illness, being abandoned by her husband,  and taking care of her  two children singlehandedly.

Joana admits that her experiences for the past couple of years almost broke her.

“Akala ko, wala akong kakayahang makagawa (I thought I did not have the capacity to do anything),” Joana said teary-eyed, describing how her self-esteem crashed after being abandoned by her husband.

According to her, she would have been completely devastated if not for the arrival of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) in their town.

New chance

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). As a community-driven development project, it involves citizens in the development process by ensuring that they are active participants in identifying and solving local poverty issues.

One of the selected sub-projects implemented here is the provision of Abaca handicrafts trainings, in partnership with PIÑA MANTRA.

The handicrafts training was implemented as part of the Gender Incentive Grant (GIG) provided by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) through the Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines (MCA-P) to Kalahi-CIDSS to help resolve gender issues that contribute to local poverty issues.

Aside from Abaca handicrafts, the GIG also provided plumbing and welding trainings for women who were interested in taking part in these.

Joana, with 59 other women, was able to join the handicrafts training.

She said her being part of the training and volunteering in the Kalahi-CIDSS formed part of the first steps she took to move on with her life.

She recalls thinking, “Ako na lang ang mag-aalaga sa mga anak ko (I will take care of my children myself).”

Being a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer, she became more active in her community, resulting in her Barangay Captain entrusting her with more responsibilities, including serving as the Barangay Representative in the municipality, roles which she accepted although she was reluctant at first.

Part of her reluctance stemmed from the fact that some people are doubtful of her abilities.

Joana said that some fellow villagers talked behind her back.

She narrated, “Sinasabi ng mga tao na ‘di naman daw ako naka-graduate ng high school. Wala raw akong alam, walang kakayahan (People say that I am just a high school undergraduate. I don’t know anything and have no skills).”

These comments, according to Joana, humiliated her at first.

“Minsan, nahihiya na akong pumunta sa munisipyo kasi parati na lang ako sinasabihan ng mga tao (I sometimes get embarrassed to go to the municipal hall because of what people are saying).”

Eventually, however, she was able to tune out these negative comments, thanks in part to the support of her Barangay Captain and her increasing confidence through her volunteerism in Kalahi-CIDSS.

“Nawala na ang hiya ko (My shyness waned),” Joana said with a small smile.

Completing the training is a source of great pride for her.

Joana said, “Na-experience ko kung paano makatanggap ng diploma. Natakot ako, pero naging masaya rin. Ganito pala ang graduation na tinatawag (I got to experience what it’s like to receive a diploma. I was scared, but it turned out well. So this is what they meant by graduation),” she said with a big grin.

She added, “Sinasabihan kasi nila ako na wala akong diploma.  Ayan, may diploma na ako (They keep telling me that I don’t have a diploma. Now I do).”

Joana is now getting ready to apply her new skills by working in a handicrafts company in their town.

She shared, “Excited na ako magtrabaho. Nag-pa-practice ako mag-isa sa bahay (I am excited to work. I practice at home).”

When asked the most important lesson she learned in Kalahi-CIDSS, Joana had this to say: “Mapapakita ko na sa ibang tao na kaya ko na. Kaya ko nang mabuhay na wala ang asawa ko. Noon, lagi lang ako umaasa sa asawa ko. Pero noong naranasan ko na ang hirap, kaya ko pala. Kapag may mga tao na sumusuporta sa iyo, kaya mo  pala  (I can show other people that I can stand on my own two feet. I can live without my husband. In the past, I always relied on him. However, when I went through hardships, I learned I can do things without him. You can make it when you have people supporting you).”

She concluded, “Nalaman ko sa Kalahi-CIDSS na may silbi ako (I learned in Kalahi-CIDSS that I have value).” ###

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