Never in her life has she imagined herself travelling to different places, let alone to a foreign country. For her, travelling is a luxury that she will never experience mainly because she was born to a poor family. She simply had no means to travel anywhere outside the little province of Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay. But fate and opportunities have a different plan for her. She was brought to the northwest side of Europe, Belgium.

Mirian B. Denoy is one of the chosen delegates to the Exchange Learning on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation that is currently held in Belgium. Among the five (5) applicants who passed the qualifying process, Mirian, a 4Ps beneficiary is the only one from the Mindanao region.

She and her husband, Samuel, together with their three young children live at the side of a riverbank in Barangay Concepcion. Samuel works as a fisherfolk earning roughly 200 pesos a day and sometimes works extra at an oyster farm. That is the main source of living of the Denoy family.

Due to poverty, she was not able to finish her studies. Mirian shared that she supported her schooling in college until she couldn’t.  As a mother, she did not want this to be experienced by her children. But because of their living condition back then, she could not do anything but to wipe the tears that formed at the side of her eyes and hope for the best to come.

“Minsan umiiyak na lang ang mga bata kasi kulang ang gamit nila sa school. Nasasaktan ako (bilang nanay.)”

(Sometimes my children would cry because their school supplies are not complete. It hurts me as a mother.)

In 2020, she was delighted by a news that she was enlisted to become one of the members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), a human capital investment program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).


Spreading her wings

In an interview, Mirian said that she was not always the go-getter type of person. In fact, she shared, she was shy and timid. Her personality is one that is less likely to talk and interact unless spoken to.

When she had a family, she thought that maybe she must serve as a role model to her three children who are currently in Grade 9, Grade 4, and Grade 2, respectively. She must be the person that she dreams her children would be. And so, as the 4Ps program invests on her and her family, she invests on acquiring knowledge and education as well.

She made sure that she learns a valuable lesson each time that she attends the family Development Sessions (FDS), a monthly meeting amongst 4Ps beneficiaries to discuss relevant topics such as financial management, family planning, parenting, disaster preparedness, livelihood, and skills trainings, etc. For Mirian, the FDS is a great avenue to learn things that could help alleviate the well-being of a family. The program is not only about receiving cash grants, more importantly, it is about empowering households to help themselves and escape the vicious cycle of poverty.

Her co-beneficiaries in the program and in the association that she belongs also encouraged her to pursue her studies as they see the potential in her. In 2021, she decided to continue her schooling and finish a degree. Currently, she is a second-year college student at the Sibugay Technical Institute, Inc. (STII) taking up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

“Na-challenge ako sa association namin. Wala kasi kaming accountant kaya ginusto ko na makatulong sa association.”

(Our association does not have an accountant. I want to help the association and so I took the challenge to pursue my studies.)

This experience allowed her to spread her wings even further with the support from the government.


Learning to fly

Her education is her first step to steering the flight to financial freedom on her own. The learning that she acquires from the FDS will serve as her map toward her destination. Meanwhile, there are also other factors that could and would help her soar high.

During our conversation, Mirian shared how she spent the very first cash aid that she received from the program. According to her, upon receiving the grants which accumulated over the year since the time she became a member, she immediately fully paid all expenses in school. The remaining cash was then used support the little store that she manages. This store is her training ground where she applies the learning from school and the FDS.

She emphasized that people, even those who belong to the poor and vulnerable sector, are able to fly and reach their dreams with the right tool and support. As to her case, the trainings that she attended and the involvement in the community paved the way for her to land in Belgium.

Mirian will be staying there, all expense paid, until September 25, 2022 as a representative of the Kapunungan sa Gagmay Mangingisda sa Concepcion (KGMC).

When asked about her advice to her fellow 4Ps beneficiaries, Mirian said:

“Seryosohin ang programa ng 4Ps. Makinig sa mga advises ng programa. Importante na marami tayong alam.”

(Take the 4Ps program seriously. Listen to its advises. It is important that we know many things.)


The 4Ps and the entire DSWD congratulates MIRIAN B. DENOY for this milestone. Your 4Ps family is truly proud of you.