Posted on 16 August 2014.
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.
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. ###