As the country celebrates Women’s Month this March, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recognizes the active participation of women-beneficiaries and volunteers in the implementation of poverty reduction projects.
“We are encouraged by the positive feedback and success stories that we receive on how our women-beneficiaries managed to turn their lives around, regained their dignity and self-worth, and achieved economic independence,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman pointed out.
Sec. Soliman said that more than half of the volunteers who are helping monitor the implementation of DSWD’s social protection programs are women.
The DSWD, being the lead agency in social protection, has been at the forefront in the delivery of programs and services geared towards women empowerment.
These include the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), and Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), which have improved the lives of women-beneficiaries.
“Sila ang nag-aaruga at nagkakalinga sa kanilang mga kapwa benepisyaryo (They take care of their fellow beneficiaries),” she continued.
Sec. Soliman also stressed, “Malayo na ang narating ng mga kababaihan, subalit marami pa din tayong dapat gawin. Bawat isa sa atin ay may kakayahang paunlarin ang ating sarili, at makatulong din sa ating kapwa at ating bansa (Women have gone far, but we still have a lot to do. All of us have the capacity to improve ourselves, and to help others and our country).”
Among them are the 290,856 women-volunteers nationwide working in the community projects of Kalahi-CIDSS.
One of the women-volunteers, Zenaida Cleope, a 50-year-old widow from Barangay Mataas na Kahoy, Mamerto Natividad, Nueva Ecija, narrated, “Ipinagmamalaki ko na ako ay isang volunteer ng Kalahi-CIDSS. Hindi ko inakala na puwede pa akong tumulong sa pagpapatayo ng classroom project namin dito sa barangay sa kabila ng aking edad (I am proud to be a volunteer of Kalahi-CIDSS. I did not imagine that I could still help in the construction of our barangay project despite my age).”
“Hindi ko maikubli ang aking kagalakan na ako ay parte para maisakatuparan ang aming pangarap na proyekto. Pakikinabangan ito ng napakaraming bata kabilang na ang aking mga apo (I could not hide my joy that I played a part in achieving our dream project. This classroom will benefit a lot of children, including my grandchildren),” Zenaida added.
On the other hand, Celyn Morales, a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary since 2009 from Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City, shared, “Madami kaming natutunan sa pag-attend sa Family Development Sessions (FDS), katulad ng pakikipag-communicate sa mga anak, tamang pagbabadyet ng pera, at pagiging aktibong mamamayan (We learned a lot from the FDS, such as communicating with our children, proper budgeting of expenses, and active citizenship).”
Celyn, who has four children, works as a babysitter and has a part time job as laundry woman during weekends. Her husband is a shoe vendor at Commonwealth Market. The couple has four children, who are all studying, hence, the cash grants they receive from the program hugely help in their children’s education.
Celyn proudly shared that her eldest daughter, who is in Grade 9 belongs to the top ten of her class.
Aside from being a parent leader, Celyn is also an active volunteer of Oplan Balik Bahay Sagip Buhay (OBBSB), which aims to comprehensively address the prevalence of children, unattached individuals, and families at risk on the streets.
She was also able to avail of the SLP’s livelihood trainings and employment through Cash-for-Work, as well as trainings for parent leaders on financial literacy and urban and vertical gardening.
Like Celyn, Soledad Esquillo from Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City, is a parent leader and an OBBSB volunteer. With 10 children, Soledad and her husband, who is a tricycle driver, find it difficult to sustain all their needs, especially on education. This is why they consider Pantawid Pamilya as “hulog ng langit” (heaven sent).
“Dahil sa Pantawid Pamilya, nakapagpatapos ako ng dalawang anak sa kolehiyo (Because of Pantawid Pamilya, I was able to send my children through college),” Soledad narrated.
Being a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary also empowered and enabled her to help her fellow beneficiaries and neighbors.
“Nakakatulong din ako sa mga kapwa ko benepisyaryo at kapitbahay sa pamamagitan ng pagbabahagi ng tamang inpormasyon. Halimbawa, kapag mayroong may sakit na nangangailangan ng tulong medikal, o yung mga namatayan na walang pangpalibing, sinasabi ko sa kanila ang mga requirements para makahingi sila ng tulong sa DSWD (I am able to help my fellow beneficiaries and neighbors by providing them the right information. For instance, when somebody is sick and needs medical assistance, or those whose family members died and have no money for burial, I tell them the requirements so they can request for assistance from DSWD),” Soledad enthused.
Sec. Soliman said that the theme for this year’s Women’s Month celebration, “Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda”, captures DSWD’s thrust in capacitating and empowering beneficiaries, especially, women and girls to achieve their goals. # Source – www.dswd.gov.ph