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Empowered SLPAs in Zambo lead production of free masks for community, frontliners

The seams and stitches have brought changes in the lives of SLP associations. Recounted through the years of successful livelihood of sewing, the dreams and hopes of program participants are intertwined through collective efforts and desire to sustain the change in their community. These opportunities were made possible through the funded skills training to provide seed capital funds for Microenterprise development of the SLPAs.

Little did they know that apart from learning the skills from these dressmaking businesses can not only provide income for their members and support their family but can also turn into blessings to others.

Challenged by the unforeseen enemies brought by the threat of COVID-19 in the country, many of the people in the communities were affected by these dilemmas. The stringent social distancing measures due to declaration of enhanced community quarantine has affected the majority of the population not only in COVID stricken areas in Luzon but also in Zamboanga City which has recorded five confirmed to date.  These directives have led to massive panic buying and unavailability of stocks most especially in disinfectants, alcohols and masks. 

However, the formidable situation didn’t hinder the members of the Sustainable Livelihood Program Associations in Zamboanga City to stop their operation but instead they find this opportunity as blessing in disguise to render their services and help those who are in dire need of masks for protection. The scarcity of face masks led the associations to initiate its production so they can help their community protect themselves. The associations of STARLIGHT and Sistrera Dela Victoria SLPAs were able to initially produce more than 1,000 washable face masks. The situation has shed light to members of these SLPAs to utilize their skills of sewing in their livelihood. These initiatives were made possible using the materials from their own miscut cloths.  Only a few of their produced face masks were sold for only Php10-Php20 while some were given for free among their neighbors, family members including those frontliners in their vicinity.

“Alegre kame cay ta puede kame ayuda na otro. Necesita man ayudahan kita, que rico man o pobre necesita man uyun kita para puede kita man fight con este cosa ta pasa ara y man share kita el blessing con aquelos bien necesita gayod ayuda. Ohala descansa ya este calamidad. Ohala hindi kita viola na cosa ta abla el govierno canaton, esta kita na casa para hindi este man calayat” Said Alejandra Dela Cruz, President of Sistrera Dela Victoria SLPA

(We are happy that we are able to help others, we need to help each other. Regardless of our social status, we need to go along with each other and face the challenges ahead of us. We also need to share what we have, to those who have little, or none at all. We hope this calamity will end soon and  hoping no one will violate what the government is requesting for us to do to in order to prevent the spread of the virus.)

“Man  junto junto kita ayuda maga hente que necesita ayuda. Hace kita este contribucion na de aton ciudad.”  Salvacion G. Mabologtong, President of Ayala Starlight SLPA added.

(Let’s help people together who are in need. Let this be our contribution to our city)

Indeed during difficult times, the Bayanihan spirit will always prevail among Filipinos. For more than a year, the bags, dresses and other woven materials they have produced have represented their hopes and aspirations that are woven through their seamless determination towards sustainable change.

More SLPAs have followed the initiative in giving out masks to the public and barangay officials in the community.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) is a capability-buildingprogram of the DSWD for poor, vulnerable and marginalized households and communities to improve their socio-economic conditions through accessing and acquiring necessary assets to engage in and maintain thriving livelihoods.
###BernelySheilainedeLeon

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- who has written 42 posts on DSWD Field Office IX Official Website.


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