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FEATURE: A PWD kneading towards success

Mrs. Aida A. Papel possess in her workplace

Mrs. Aida A. Papel, a certified Massage Therapist from Barangay Pahindong, Medina, Misamis Oriental (Photo Credits to Nolanie Gadia, PDO II of Medina, Misamis Oriental)

The Sustainable Livelihood Program is a multi-stakeholder program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development that aims to improve the standard of living of poor households by facilitating opportunities for development and management of resources viable for micro-enterprises, community empowerment through skills training and employment facilitation. It gives significant priority to the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in all its interventions since they are considered to be the poorest of the poor as signified by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

One of the modalities of the program provides Technical Skills Training, a capacity-building strategy to prepare program participants to better manage livelihood opportunities and pro-actively ensures optimum quality performance in managing their livelihood activities.

In 2015, the program produced about 3,500 graduates of technical courses with NC II certifications as assessed by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). One of the notable recipients of this program is Mrs. Aida A. Papel, a 50 year old mother of six children, a Person with Disability (PWD) and a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary of Barangay Pahindong, Medina, Misamis Oriental since 2011.

Realities of life

Medina is a forth class municipality located in the coastal and eastern portion of the province of Misamis Oriental, 106 kilometers drive from Cagayan de Oro City, with a population of 38,969 and home to 2,059 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries.

Mrs. Papel is leaving in a neighborhood close to her relatives with her husband whose only source of livelihood is farming. “Life was difficult then, but we worked it out together to survive our daily needs”, she says. However, their simple living was challenged because of an accident that burned Mrs. Papel’s hands, almost burned their home as well and eventually cost her marriage. “Gibiyaan ko sa akong bana tungod kay wala kaagwanta og atiman sa ako panahon sa kalisod (my husband left me when I was terribly ill, he couldn’t take care of me)”, she adds.

Separated from her husband, Mrs. Papel has to work harder and face life’s challenges alone, for her children’s welfare, she took every livelihood opportunity she could despite of her disability. Neglected at first but eventually finds her way forward, she works more than anyone, from a sales agent to a community volunteer and later a community leader. Well ahead, she was enlisted as one of the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the area, which immensely made an impact to her family particularly her children who are still in grade school.

Gears toward success

At the beginning of the skills training provided by the department in partnership with the Skills Mastery Institute for this particular area, Mrs. Papel was discouraged to partake due to her disability. Her burned hands which resulted to deformity may seem unsuited for massage therapy. However, Mrs. Papel’s perseverance and determination to learn aided her to participate and complete the 25 days theoretical and hands-on training, which eventually earned her the National Certificate II on Massage Therapy along with her groupmates of 29 other beneficiaries.

Since then, the group has established their very own Massage Center, through the support of their local executive. They also have an exclusive contract of service with Duka Bay Resort which earns them P200.00 each per client apart from extra tips. “Isip usa sa mga nagdumala sa among Massage Center, nalipay gyud ko nga ang akong giiskwelahan kay nagamit gyud nako sa akong panginabuhi (being part owner and manager of our Massage Center, I feel glad that I have used my learning for living)”, she says.

Each member of the group shares part of their income to their group fund for the maintenance of their business. Although, the building and electricity is covered by the local government, they also anticipate the future operations of their business if there will be a change of government leadership in their municipality.

Beyond this junctures, Mrs. Papel’s now harvest the fruits of her hard work. She has not only restored their house but also the status of their family to the community. Her children can now go to school with new clothes, schools supplies and reasonable allowance. Above all, her experiences brought her self-worth and boosts her confidence and strength to move farther.

“Nagpasalamat ko sa DSWD pinanguluhan ni Secretary Dinky Soliman, sa gihatag nga oportunidad sa ako isip usa ka kabus ug benepisyaryo sa Pantawid Pamilya, nga makabakod og mulambo ang panginabuhi pinaagi sa mga program niini (I am thankful to the DSWD through the leadership of Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman for the opportunity they gave me being one of the poor and beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya, to develop and improve our lives through their programs. Sana magpadayon kini nga mga programa (I hope these programs will continue),” she says.

“Nanawagan ko sa akong mga kauban nga PWD nga dili mawad-an ug paglaum ug magpadayon kita sa pagpaningkamot alang sa kalambuan sa atong pamilya (I am appealing to other PWDs not to lose hope and strive farther for the betterment of your families),” she pleas.

“Hindi hadlang ang iyong kapansanan para maabot mo ang iyong pinapangarap na magandang buhay (disability is not a constraining factor to achieve your dream of a beautiful life),” she affirms.

Written by Jamila M. Taha, DSWD

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February 2016