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Camiguin Woman Finds Respect Among Peers, Insists Gender Equality Alleviates Poverty

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Charina Torayno, 34, from Purok 4, Kompol, Catarman town, is a Pantawid Pamilya parent leader and volunteer for the organized Barangay Sub-project Management Committee that implements projects under the Department of Social Welfare and Development program –the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services – National Community Driven Development Program (Kalahi CIDSS-NCDDP). Here, Charina inspects the ceiling of the recently finished multi-purpose building in their village. (S.Uy | DSWD)

Catarman, Camiguin Province – Rising above any adversity is a daunting task for most people; it takes sheer will and determination, and a little help from your community.

Northern Mindanao region has come a long way in empowering women and instill the volunteerism in the communities.

Charina Torayno, 34, from Purok 4, Kompol, Catarman town, is a Pantawid Pamilya parent leader, was chosen by fellow volunteers as chairman for the organized Barangay Sub-project Management Committee that implements projects under the Department of Social Welfare and Development program –the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services – National Community Driven Development Program (Kalahi CIDSS-NCDDP).

Despite the stereotyping and resource limitations, Charina together with women beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya), implemented the construction of a multi-purpose building which would serve as the barangay center of her village as an evacuation center during calamities.

Charina’s participation in the construction of the barangay hall made her realize that women can be agents of change and eventually help in protecting the vulnerable members of society such as the elderly, women, children, and persons with disability.

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The façade of the newly constructed multi-purpose building in Catarman, Camiguin Province under the DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS program. (S.Uy |DSWD)

“It is only through gender equality that women can help promote economic growth and alleviate poverty,” stressed Charina, who also join other women and men in her village in putting sands on sacks, piling hollow blocks, and mixing cement with aggregates during the construction of the building.

“Before, I would only stay at home struggling to make ends meet,” Charina said, adding, “I will not bother to participate in any activities in school and in our community.”

Furthermore, Charina said “wala ko magdahom sa dako nga responsibilidad (I did not anticipate the magnitude of the responsibility) but insisted that women like her can manage and do the tasks usually done by men.)” Charina said her husband is also supportive and also said that some of her fellow volunteers had doubts if they can finish the tasks, but insisted to them “kaya ra ni ninyo, kay nagseminar baya ta ani (you can do this, we already had a seminar about this). “



Charina reveals that her volunteer work led her to do almost all construction management tasks. She also admitted that before the actual work that she did not know some of the terminologies in the construction industry. She, however, was enlightened during the seminars.

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Charina Torayno, inspects the tools, construction materials and other components used in the construction of the multi-purpose building in Catarman, Camiguin Province. Charina makes sure they are all accounted for. (S.Uy | DSWD)

Charina’s tasks during the project were to organize the volunteers and serve as manager. She also revealed that she has earned the respect of her peers and fellow volunteers as the project progressed.

Charina also said that she was very hands-on during the construction by actively doing follow-ups on deliverables; she also said that she was relatively strict and non-complacent.

She insisted helping out in tasks usually given to their male counterparts, like cement mixing and segregation of aggregates and sand, but also admits that there are certain tasks that she cannot do like bending of steel materials.

After three months of construction work, Charina and her fellow village volunteers finished the building. “We feel proud, this is a nice office, and during calamities, this will serve as an evacuation center and this place is also safe from floods.”

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Charina Torayno, with her husband and their twins at their home in Catarman, Camiguin Province. (S.Uy | DSWD)

Home and Family Life

Charina said that despite the three-month-long construction work, she still managed to do all her daily tasks as a parent. She revealed that her usual routine is to cook meals and prepares her husband’s things the night before so her husband can get ready for work faster, bathes her twin 2-year-old daughters, prepares milk, cook for noontime and dinner, and constantly communicates with her fellow Pantawid Pamilya members.

Charina also said that the DSWD programs like Pantawid Pamilya and the Family Development Session really boost her confidence as a woman and a mother.

She revealed that these programs helped her to manage her home and financials. Now, their family can have savings, payment for school fees, and most especially for the well-being of her children.

Charina concludes that through these DSWD integrated programs she now has full confidence in her daily lifestyle and said that she has also gained the respect of others and more importantly – a sense of self-respect.

Written by Shaun Alejandrae Y. Uy, DSWD

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November 2015