“Mahirap talaga ang buhay lalo na kapag wala kang maayos na trabaho sa lipunan.”
This is how Felicitas M. Nonong, 37 years old describes how her life runs every day. She and her husband and four children live in Sitio Asinan, Brgy. Kasayangan, Zamboanga City.
“Naglalako at nagbebenta ako ng gulay dati. Nagigising ako ng alas dos ng umaga para mamalengke tapos wala na akong pahinga hanggang gumabi. Alas sais ng umaga magluluto na ako ng gulay para ibenta. Tapos pagdating ng alas tres ng hapon maglalako ako ng gulay.” She said.
Exhaustion and fatigue was expressed through Felicitas’ eyes as she shared the story of her everyday life. Doing this for a year to be able to provide for the family, she earns Php800 out of her Php300 capital a day. However, just like everybody else, she has her physical limits. It came to a point where she had to be hospitalized due to lack of sleep, fatigue and high blood pressure. Felicitas pushed herself too much to provide for her family, and stress caught up with her.
“Masakit sa loob ko kapag humihingi ang mga bata ng kailangan nila lalo na sa eskwelahan tapos wala kang maibigay.” She sadly said.
Felicitas’ husband, Roland 40 years old, works as a security guard. He earns 4,500 pesos per month which apparently cannot suffice their needs. Aside from the basic needs at home, and the needs of the children at school, they had to pay for their rent.
Felicitas made sure that her children had money in their pockets to be able to commute to and from school. She wants her children to experience the exact opposite of what she’s going through every day just to earn for a living. Life was never easy for them, since they had to take care of one of their children who had “special needs”. However, they never saw him as a burden, but a blessing. She makes sure that her son is settled before she leaves home for work. That’s why Felicitas was thankful when she became a Pantawid beneficiary in the year 2013. The educational assistance she received was really huge relief for her children.
One day, their parent leader in Pantawid announced that Skills Training will be offered by the Sustainable Livelihood Program of DSWD. She felt lucky when she was included in the list because one of the beneficiaries backed out, and she felt that this would become a very good opportunity for her and her family.
They were 25 of them who trained under Housekeeping for 15-days held at the Barangay Hall in partnership with the Barangay of Kasanyangan. After the training they received starter kits which included a pair of shoes, apron and a shirt. After the training’s culmination they immediately went to Ozamis City for the assessment with 3,000 pesos in their pockets and free accommodation.
Through Felicitas’ effort and hardwork, she passed the assessment and acquired a National Certificate II in Housekeeping.
A clever Felicitas applied for work while on training. A week after her assessment in Ozamis she was hired in a known hotel in Zamboanga City, the LM Hotel.
She now earns minimum wage by working 6 days a week cleaning function rooms in a hotel in the city.
Felicitas and her family were able to acquire a house through the help of her sibling. It was a secondhand house sold by the government which they renovated from their own money. They are now able to set aside a little amount since they no longer have to pay for rent. Even now that Felicitas is employed, she still walks 45 minutes to and from work every day, just to be able to save a little bit more.
“Sayang kung ipamasahe ko pa ang pera, sanay naman din ako. Yung 30 pesos na pamasahe pwede pang pandagdag yun sa baon ng mga anak ko. Masakit sa loob ko kapag humihingi ang mga bata sakin tapos wala akong maibigay.” Said Felicitas emotionally.
It really shows how Felicitas values every penny that she earns.
“Dati nung hindi pa ako nakapagtrabaho naglalako at nagbebenta ako ng gulay. Dahil sa SLP na binigay ng DSWD nakapagtrabaho ako. Nakakatulong na din ako sa asawa at mga anak ko. Kung ano yung mga pangangailangan nila naibibigay ko na. Natutulungan ko na ang pamilya ko, at nagkaroon ng kahit konti pero pagbabago ang buhay namin. Maraming salamat!” – Felicitas