Maglisod mi og come up sa among daily nga panginahanglanon. Dili jud mi makahatag sa among mga anak og 3 times ka meal sa usa ka adlaw.

This is how Vilma A. Tandus, 33 years old recounted her early struggles in life before she became a beneficiary of DSWD programs. She lived with her husband and two children together with her parents for 5 years in Sanito, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Mangaon ra mi og alternatibo nga pagkaon mga root crops, kamanting, saging. Dili permanente ang kan.on. Sauna akong bana walay klaro nga trabaho, usahay magpa labor sa copra, kung naa maka apply sa construction didto pod sya magtrabaho. Ako that time wala koy income sa akoang kaugalingon.” She added.

Through her eyes and smiles, she clearly manifest a resilient woman inside who have battled the tests of time. Every day, she needs to gather these strength to overcome her fears and to start stronger for her family.

She narrated how her children had to walk to and from school every day at times even with an empty stomach. Vilma could not take the situation seeing her family suffer this much. After she tried her luck in Manila being a house helper, she made her quit the job after a year of work due to the difficulty of distance and communication. She became saleslady by then and peddled banana cue in the community when she decided to come back. She almost narrated all possible means to earn to augment and suffice the daily needs of their family along with his husbdand who is also trying his best to sustain everything. Giving up for both of them became not an option, they were even optimistic to survive these challenges.

In 2012, Vilma became a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary, She admitted that in the past she never pays attention to the activities conduted in their barangay. But, her neighbour consistently tried to persuade her to come, and that eventually changed her perception along with the guidance and help by her Municipal Link. She became active and was even nominated as parent leader. A change that she always been thankful for. The trust and confidence given by her co-beneficiaries challenged her to be empowered not only for the beneficiaries but also for her family. Though a bit challenged but no can ever replace the fact that change is truly happening even within.

Dili diay dapat ang pobre magpakahilom hilom, kay ang usa ka tawo wala’y ma-gain nga mga knowledge og skills nga gihatag sa barangay og di ka manggilabot. Kinahanglan ikaw mismo sa imong kaogalingon maningkamot ka.” She expressed.

Vilma and her husband slowly managed to acquire their own house, this was because their family was growing, and a better environment for their children was needed. Vilma religiously sets aside the money she receives from the pantawid program for her children’s education, since this is everything that she want for them.

In 2016, she eventually became a member of the Sanito Motherhood Pantawid SKA under the Sustainable Livelihood Program’s Micro-Enterprise Track, where it provides seed capital assistance to beneficiaries to start and engage themselves to economic activities through the CDED process.  The association she is part of produces wide array of food products and catering services depending on the market’s demand. As a member she helps in packing their products on banana chips, peanut butter, and sweet coated peanuts. They also earn through their catering by providing quality food service in the community. The LGU also assisted them by providing referrals to their products and services. Through the said association, an assisted project with SLP, She was able to earn not only extra income and but also worthwhile experience she can always takes pride.

As of the moment, Vilma and her family are now living in their own simple abode,

a dream that has truly came true. They have 6 children who are now confident to socialize with their classmates and friends because of the new hope and opportunities provided by the DSWD.

“Sauna manilingan mi mag tan-aw salida sa TV. Karon sa balay dili na sila mohawa, karon dili na sila mag hike kay naa na mi kaugalingon nga sakyanan maskin hulugan okay ra.” She said.

Sa SLP og DSWD, pasalamat ko og dako nga ang ilahang pagtabang sa amoa na palambo namo. Naan a mi dugang income para sa among panimalay para maabot dyud namo among kinahanglan.” She added.

In behalf of her family, Vilma expressed how truly grateful and blessed she was with the brand new hope and experiences the DSWD have given them. She prayed hard to God to help them uplift their condition and she never ceased to be thankful for the new tomorrow.

###Bernely Sheilaine Nemil