San Juan, La Union – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office in Region I has provided livelihood training, starter kits, and a total of P160,000 seed capital to indigent residents in this municipality to help them establish a better source of income.
Aware of the opportunities the booming tourism industry in San Juan provides, the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the field office provided skills training on T-shirt printing and souvenir making to fifteen Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries of the town early this year. To help them start their business, FO I also awarded starter kits to the beneficiaries, which include a heat press, printers, T-shirts, caps, fans, and mugs. It also gave allowances to the beneficiaries.
The Local Government Unit (LGU) of San Juan, on the other hand, provided a cargo truck that serves as the beneficiaries’ mobile showroom on top of the P75,000 cash loan earlier awarded to them, which they used as their additional capital.
The beneficiaries, who later organized themselves as the Glassy Waves of San Juan Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA), began their 24/7business in March. The association has gained good market, with their highest daily sale reaching as high as P16,000 to P20,000, especially during holidays like the celebration of the Holy Week in April where tourist visits in San Juan were at its peak.
To help fellow livelihood associations, the SLPA has partnered with the Bamboo Growers Association to provide them with bamboo craft souvenirs, and the Dait ni Ayat(Weave of Love) Association to provide them with bags to be printed on. The two associations are also products of the Department’s SLP skills training modality.
Not long after the association started its business operation using the support it got from the DSWD and the LGU, it encountered a serious challenge.
All hopes of the members seemed to turn into ashes when their cargo truck went up in flames due to faulty electrical wiring on a rainy night in May. Only P40,000 cash was saved, leaving the P239,000 worth of printing materials and products in the truck totally damaged.
Early morning after the tragedy, San Juan Mayor Arturo Valdriz and all the department heads in town raised funds to help the SLPA and its other two partner livelihood associations bounce back. The LGU was able to raise P130,000 from its budget, helping the associations gain its lost hope and restart its normal business operations two days after. In addition, Mayor Valdriz provided another workplace and showroom for use of the association.
Meanwhile, DSWD FO I provided the additional Seed Capital Fund to the beneficiaries amounting to Php160,00 in July.
“Hindi na kami yung 4Ps na hindi nagbabago ang buhay. Nakaka-proud kasi may sarili na kaming opisina. Feeling namin e businessmen na talaga kami (We are no longer the so-called 4Ps beneficiaries who have stagnant life conditions. We are proud of having our own office. We feel like real businessmen),” said the SLPA President, Gladys Cabading, as she reminisced how T-shirt printing and souvenir making has changed her life and the lives of her fellow beneficiaries.
At present, the Glassy Waves of San Juan SLPA is the leading souvenir and T-shirt printing service provider in the municipality. The association also serves the souvenir and printing needs of its neighboring La Union towns.
The livelihood association is a duly accredited Civil Society Organization (CSO) beneficiary of the DSWD. Beneficiary CSOs are those that are composed of individuals bound by a common interest or are confronted by a calamity, social condition, problem, issue, or crisis who organized themselves to benefit from government projects or programs that they themselves will undertake.###