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Resiliency and Diligence in Livelihood Boost Norhaya’s Faith in Herself

Norhaya Toma has always believed that resiliency and diligence are two important pillars to success. Having nine children, she knows how bitter life could be, especially when finances are not enough to provide their basic needs. Living in a small village in Barangay Piraka, Sultan Naga Dimaporo, in the province of Lanao del Norte, Norhaya had little opportunities to improve their way of life. Even chances to make ends meet were slim, she recalled.

Like any other mothers who only want to provide for her children, the 53-year old searched daily for ways to be able to bring food on their family table. At one point, because of her resourcefulness, she was able to open her own sari-sari store but because of the lack of capital and the lack of knowledge in managing her business effectively, it eventually closed down.

“I felt like I was in a dark room, not knowing what to do to see that light I needed. I was actually at that point of questioning myself as a person. Why can’t I provide a good life for my family?” Norhaya says.

The day Norhaya was introduced to the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, she felt that this was an opportunity for her to get back on her feet. She eagerly made herself available to capability building workshops the Program provided.

The SLP is a DSWD intervention that aims to improve the standard of living of poor households such as that of Norhaya’s. Through the community-driven enterprise development approach, participants like her undergo workshops and skills training in order to determine the most suitable market-driven and resource-based livelihoods to engage in.

“It was in these workshops where I saw the mistakes I did in the Sari-sari store that I managed. It was in these workshops where I learned how to manage a small-scale business, how to get more customers, and to sustain it even with the little that I have,” Norhaya says.

Thankful for the financial support of the Hanapbuhay Piraka 4P’s SEA-K Association – an association established through the DSWD’s Micro-Enterprise Track of the SLP, Norhaya rebuilt her Sari-sari store, this time armed with knowledge and strategies in managing the business.

Today, she prides herself because of her resiliency and diligence in putting up her business. The store became a source of income for her and her nine children. It has brought food on their table and has provided for their basic needs. “I can now even bring my children to the market to buy them toys,” she smiles.

Although there were times that the business came to a low point, she did not mind. “I think it is part of the business, but I do not let it bother me. I am pretty much sure that with just a little faith in myself, I can get back on my feet.”

Norhaya is a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipno Program beneficiary who is also identified under Listahanan – the national household targeting system used by the DSWD and other social protection providers for poverty reduction.

Written by Charmaine Tadlas, DSWD

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