Posted on 14 October 2014.
Helen and kids try the brand new trisikad her family received from DSWD.
Valle Hermoso, Negros Oriental- After losing her husband in a fatal accident four years ago, Helen Balasabas Ombrero, 47, has doubled her efforts to fulfill her responsibilities to her six children.
Such is a huge task for a petite mother who stands 4’10 tall, but Helen is not complaining.
Helen earns a living by doing farm duties like tilling the field and planting corn and root crops. She also collects fire woods she can sell.
Helen only earns an average from P100 to P150 a day, clearly not enough for her family’s daily needs. Her income doing farm duties could not also suffice for her to send all her children to school.
Another setback, Helen shared, is when she has to take care of anyone of her children when he or she gets sick. This would mean sacrificing a day’s work in order for her to attend to her sick child.
The family also lost their house in a fire last year, which has worsened the family’s living conditions. After the incident, some of Helen’s kids were even seen begging on the streets.
Gains from Pantawid
Helen saw hope when she became a member of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program because she now receives cash grants that help her send Susan, 15, and Myrna, 11, to school.
Pantawid Pamilya is one of the core poverty reduction programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that focuses on human capital investment through the provision of health and education cash grants to eligible poor households.
According to this town’s municipal link Emmalinda Alarcio, Helen has been actively joining Pantawid Pamilya Family Development Sessions (FDS), which had improved her views in life as she became more aware of her responsibilities towards her children.
FDS is a gathering of 25-35 parent-beneficiaries, as part of the program conditionalities which they should comply to continue receiving the cash grants, where they discuss topics that aim to strengthen and enhance their parental roles.
Helen’s optimism remained high, especially that her family was among the 31 recipients of brand new trisikads provided by DSWD through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).
SLP is a community-based capacity building program that seeks to improve the socio-economic status of program participants. It is implemented through the Community-Driven Enterprise Development (CDED) approach, which equips the program participants to actively contribute to production and labor markets by making use of available resources and accessible markets.
The beneficiaries of the brand new trisikads are members of the Vallehermoso Trisikad Association (VALTA). A trisikad is a regular bicycle mounted to a sidecar costing P9,345.
“Mapasalamaton kaayo ko nga nakadawat ko niining bag-o nga trisikad kay akong bana sauna usa ka trisikad driver. Samtang nagpa-abot kos akong kinamagulangang anak nga tua pa sa Cebu ako lang usa ang mugamit niini para naa me panudan (I am very grateful with this new trisikad because my late husband used to be a trisikad driver. Now, we have our own trisikad. In the meantime, I will be the one to drive this to earn a living while waiting for my second child to arrive from Cebu),” Helen said.
Moreover, Helen is also optimistic that she can send her other kids to school now that they no longer rent a trisikad.
During the turn-over ceremony, the President of VALTA, John Anog, vowed that they will take care of the trisikads adding that members have agreed to pool in P20 from their income as monthly dues for maintenance.
The group also plans to acquire more units to help other members of the organization get their own trisikads.
Bobby Fat, 41, who is also a recipient of trisikad, expressed his deep appreciation because he had longed wish of buying his own unit.
Aside from being a trisikad driver, Bobby also does farming to support his five children.
DSWD- Field Office VII Director Mercedita Jabagat graced the turn-over rites together with Mayor Joniper Villegas, and Angelo Tiongson representing Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.
Dir. Jabagat encouraged the beneficiaries to make good use of the units as they are the first in the region to have received such aid.
“I hope the next time I visit here, the trisikads are still in good condition. I also challenge VALTA to set an example for other groups to follow,” she said.
The Field Office will also implement the project in other towns in the region, which were hit by Typhoon Yolanda. ###