“Nakaingon jud ko nga dili nako mobalik sa akong kinabuhi sauna, mura kog nalipay, nahangak, sagol na akong nabati.”

This is how Emelia Javar, 53 recalled her early struggles in life in Barangay Mabini in Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Emelia as a hardworking wife takes good care of her husband Dionisio, 56 and their seven (7) children. They live in a small dwelling made of “nipa” and other light materials. Amid difficulties, they remain robust and simple to overcome the battle and win the fight for better life.

In order to provide food on the table, she peddles products root crop like cassava, assorted candies, fried bananas, tamarind and “bibingka. She also cooks viand and sells it in the nearby schools and offices. Her husband, though working as a farmer, barely earns enough to sustain the family needs. With the pressing situation, her two sons decided to search for better opportunities far from their family.

“Naningkamot dyud sila nga moadto sa Cebu, naningpalad para mangita og kinabuhi didto. Para makatabang pod sila sa amoa kay naulaw sila sa among balay kay puerting gamaya.” Emilia sadly expressed.

Eventhough life was difficult for them, Emelia’s resiliency rekindled the losing flame in her. With great responsibilities she has to bear including her attention needed for her son who is a special child, she knew that giving up is not an option.

Ariel Javar, his son, on his younger days was enrolled in a SPED class in Ipil. He is an achiever and a consistent top student of the class. Unfortunately, moments came when Ariel needed to stop attending school because Emelia could no longer afford paying for his everyday expenses. Emelia could not take seeing her son walk and sacrifice in order to reach and go home from school

Ariel now 28 years old, helps her father in farming. He joins during harvest season where they get 10 sacks of rice for their work. He also assists her mother in gardening and house hold chores.

“Morag kapoy na jud sa katanan. Sige lang ko ingon sa Ginoo nga gipakoy na dyud ko sa ing-aning kinabuhi.” Said Emelia.

Emelia’s two daughters, Jonamae, 17 and Hazel, 15 were in their high school years when they also tried to find ways to augment the needs of the family by bringing sacks of raw bananas in school for sale. They use the earnings to sustain their school needs and to unload the burdens from their mother.

Emelia feels fortunate having responsible children like Jonamae and Hazel, even if she wants them to stay at home, she cannot stop them from working. During vacations, her daughters work in a “Batchoyan” in Ipil. Even if they are exhausted from work, and even if these limits their chances for recreation, they still willingly help their parents.

“Ang ilahang sweldo gipangpalit nila og atop para dili na matuluan ang balay kung tig-ulan, para maayo ang pagtulog namo.” Emotionally expressed by Emilia

True enough that Emelia and her family’s situation is clearly a case of poverty. They earn barely enough and the money they earn just slips their hands like flowing water because of the expenses they have to make for living. There are no reasons for them to get tired and be idle because their perseverance to survive for living depends on how much effort everyone is putting in.

December 2015 when Emelia’s neighbor shared to her the text message she received from their Municipal Link, saying that there are few available slots to avail because there were participants who backed out in a program of the DSWD. It was opened to interested Pantawid beneficiaries who are interested to avail of training in Sustainable Livelihood Program. Emelia was elated upon hearing the good news.

“Nagpakyaw dayon ko og motor, giutang nako bahala na wala koy kwarta. Nalipay ko nga nanginahanglan pa sila og tawo, ang Ginoo nahibalo dyud nga nanginahanglan jud ko og semilya, mao tong nakaapil ko.”

Emelia underwent training on Organic Farming in Gardening, which lasted for two days funded by SLP. They were immediately given vegetable seedlings and gardening tools as starter kits to apply the learning they got from the said training. After three months, she finally reap the harvest.

Emelia was not the only one who harvested their products during the time and it did not go easily for her. The other participants also had their harvest at that same time, so there was a saturation of vegetables in the market. To add to the difficulty, the resellers at their market wanted to pay her low. With these challenges, she strategized her products by selling it in the various areas nearby. She hired a tricycle for Php250 a day,and started selling her produce to carenderias in Titay. She went to school canteens and sold them to teachers and staff. These efforts helped her to earn 5,000 pesos at the end of the day.










Emelia used the money to continue her vegetable production, slowly renovated their hous and connection of electricity. She was also able to buy hogs and chickens as investment for additional income for the family.

On her second harvest, she was able to earn almost Php30,000 and able to sell it using her strategies. Emelia manages her money properly. She even takes a part of it and share it to the church as gratitude for the blessings received.

“Sauna nangandoy ko nga makatanom, pero ang problema walay kwarta. Nalipay kaayo ko kay naay suporta nga semilya kay kato dyud ang nakatabang sa amoa og dako nga nakabalay mi og tarong karon.” Emelia proudly said.

“Dako kaayo kog pasalamat sa SLP og DSWD kay na usa ko sa mga nakaapil sa benefit nga ilahang gipanghatag. Dako kaayog ikatabang sa among pamilya”

“Kung nay tabang gikan sa Gobyerno atong ampingan. Dili pasagdan, dili usik usikan ang oras kay mao ra gihapon ang kalisod, dili ta moasenso. Dako akong pasalamt sa SLP og DSWD kay usa ko sa naka-avail sa benefit nga gihatag nila. Dako kaayo’g tabang sa among pamilya.”

Today, Emelia need not to worry about her children. She’s now able to provide good clothes and food on the table. All her sacrifices, efforts and pain were paid-of. She now earns an average amount of Php3,000 per week and indeed it’s a sweet harvest from hardwork, she said. ####BERNELY SHEILAINE L NEMIL-SMO / NURSIDA JULWADI-PDO