|A NURTURING ENDEAVOR|
|News Features - Press Releases|
|Written by Grace O. Ponce, Information Officer III|
|Monday, 11 April 2011 08:09|
Probably one of the most important months of the year is March. Aside from the closing of the classes, which means long vacation for students and for some it is a great time for family get-away and escapades. But for most women all over the world, the month of March is a celebration of womanhood where the whole world recognizes the important role of women in nation-building.
Over the years, the role of women has totally evolved. From a plain housewife, they have become career-oriented professional. Way back in the earlier years, women do not have much involvement in the society. In fact in some countries, they do not possess any right.
But through changing times where more and more women have become more aggressive in fighting for their rights and in establishing their role as vital member of a society, women have become more visible in the roles that used to be dominated by the male specie.
This transformation does not exclude the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. From being plain housewives to active members of the society, these women have involved themselves in activities that could not only benefit them as a person but also others who look up to them.
The Pantawid Pamilya is an anti-poverty program of the government implemented through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It seeks to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty through investment in human capital by providing cash grants to extremely poor households in exchange of complying with the conditions of the programs primarily on health and education.
In a poverty-stricken community, it will always be a battle of survival. The mother does not only attend to the needs of her children but also obligates herself to augment the household income in order to eat and have something to feed their starving families.
With the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, it does not only encourage community participation but most importantly developing mothers to play a vital role in the implementation of the program.
Despite of the many struggles and on top of the responsibility as a mother, there were beneficiaries who accepted the challenge of being a leader in their respective communities.
The parent leaders, who are mostly mothers are the link of the beneficiaries to the program. They serve as partners and point persons of the city/municipal links in ensuring that activities are properly carried out in accordance with the policies and guidelines of the program. Aside from holding regular meetings, they also assist in ensuring that their members comply with the conditions of the program. As parent leaders, they also serve as information duct of the community, ensuring that significant information are relayed to all the members. The organization of each community is to encourage families supporting one another.
For Eliza Bulan, 52 years old, from barangay Lizada in Toril, Davao del Sur, a typical day for her starts with attending to the needs of her children. A widow for almost 8 years, she solely raises her children and provides for their daily needs. She wakes up early to make sure that her eight children will have something to eat for the day. She moves around the neighborhood to offer native delicacies meals to students and teachers during lunch time. While it is a tough job, Eliza clings on, for the sake of her children.
When she became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya, her life became more meaningful. Little did she expect that she will become a parent leader, someone that her co-beneficiaries looks up to.
She admitted that being a mother is already a tough job, and to be given additional responsibility is another challenge. Aside from attending to the needs of her children, she now looks after the welfare of her members. Sometimes they ran to her for advices while others run to her to ask for some help. While at times she finds it hard to attend to the needs of her family and her members at the same time, for her the additional responsibility is a reminder of her ability to help others despite her economic status in life.
The fulfillment that she gets from her role as a parent and as a leader is priceless.
In Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro, Elsie dela Cruz, also shared how she is happy not only to become a beneficiary of the program but also a partner in the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilya. According to her, it is not enough to be delighted because of receiving cash grants from the government; but also to become useful in the community. Despite her responsibilities as a mother, she makes it a point to meet with her members not only to discuss issues but also a venue in nurturing friendships that developed because of the program. Apart from their regular meeting, she also sees to it that she, together with her members also joins community activities and does volunteer works.
Described as hard-working and honest by her members, Mrs. Dela Cruz is not only a competent leader, but also a good role model to her members for being a kind and responsible mother to her six children.
Her belief in responsible parenting reflects in her efforts to make the monthly family development sessions interesting by preparing fun games. Her efforts and enthusiasm inspire her members to attend and actively participate in all community endeavors.
By doing more than what was expected, they have shown that they do not only have become better parents by meeting the conditions of the program but they have also ventured keeping their families and community stronger and stable not only while the program is being currently implemented but even beyond.
Stories of mothers accepting the role of being leaders are not exclusive to the majority. In fact, the Indigenous People (IP), who is one of the organized community-beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya has started to embrace the challenges of being part of the program. It is a known fact that the IPs known as members of the minority, have built their lives away from the usual scenes of a regular community. They are known for their unique cultures, customs as evident in the way they dress and live. In fact, most of the IPs have rests their abode in mountainous areas.
It is quite sad to note that most of the services being offered by the government do not reach them or have some limited access to it. The Pantawid Pamilya wanted to make sure that government programs and services be maximized by all those who need it. This paved way for the inclusion of the IPs as beneficiaries of the program. To date, there are already 276, 049 IP households included in the program.
As shared by Isinea Yap, 36, a Parent Leader for a Badjao Community in Sitio Luuk, at first some of the members of the community are afraid to visit the health center because of fear that they might be ignored. Just to encourage them to avail of the services being offered by the health center and to encourage them of sending their children in school, Isenea would find time to accompany some mothers in visiting the centers and even escorting children in school. Although at times, Helen finds it a very tiring task, still she continue doing it because she believes that this is the only way she could help her community maximize the benefit of the program.
Isinea admitted that this is her first time to become a leader, and she considers it as one of her major accomplishments, especially that she has to change some of their regular practices. Although, she knows that it will take some time before she could fully encourage her members and the rest of the community in believing in this endeavors, at least for now she is contented that she has started the inject change, a change that could benefit not only her family but the whole community.
Accepting additional tasks and responsibilities on top of another responsibility is really a tough job. But for Eliza, Elsie, Isenea and the rest of the parent leaders, accepting the challenge is a way of giving back what the government has given them. For them, the knowledge and the inspiration that they could give their members can help them get through with their lives. It may not be promise of a comfortable life, but could be start of a new and nurturing life….### (Pantawid Pamilya Social Marketing Unit)