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13 years of darkness

Every night, along the busy neighborhood of Bagong Silang in Brgy. San Nicholas of San Pablo City, Laguna, is a house that cast into darkness when the sun sets.

This is where the family of Ms. Mary Jane Umali, 44, lives.

For many years, her family endures not having electricity in their household. Her husband has no stable source of income so she needs to juggle different jobs to sustain the needs of her family.

From cleaning houses to selling various goods around their neighborhood, Mary Jane is determined to provide a better life for her family.

“Marami po akong side-line kasi hindi po sapat ang kinikita naming mag-asawa para sa pangangailanagan po naming pamilya, lalo’t nagaaral na po lahat ang mga anak”, she shared.

This year, she became one of the 50 Pantawid beneficiaries who became members of the KALIPI Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) association. These beneficiaries are the SLP participants of the hog-raising project in San Pablo City, Laguna.

The SLP is implemented alongside with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, to help the qualified participants improve their economic capacities through micro-enterprise development or gainful employment.

Mary Jane saw the project as a great opportunity to have additional source of income.

“Sumali po ako sa SLP, unang-una for experience po, dahil dati po wala talaga po akong kaalam alam sa pag-aalaga ng baboy, gusto ko pong matututo ng ibang bagay, Nakita ko rin po ito bilang opportunity para may mapagkakitaan po akong maganda, kahit nandito lang po ako at walang permanenteng nakakapagtrabaho”, she openly shared.

Each of the 50 participants received Php10,000.00 seed capital fund, a one-time grant that serves as a working capital which they used to buy their starter pigs and feeds.

The Costales Nature Farms, a partner of DSWD, provided the hog-raising trainings and starter kits to the participants.

Illuminating the future of their family

“Noong 2014 ko pa po hinihiling na sana magkaroon na po kami ng kuryente tapos dumating po ang SLP, ito po yung parang answered prayer para sa akin”, Mary Jane said.

As a mother, it is excruciating to see her children endure every day without electricity, especially during the night. When all of their neighbors are watching TV and the children are doing their assignments with lights on, her family is groping in the dark.

“Syempre po naaawa po ako sa mga anak ko, nakikita ko po na nahihirapan sila dahil kandila lang po ang gamit nila pag nag-aaral, yun po talaga ang una kong iniisip noon kaya gusto ko pong magkakuryente”, she shared.

She used her earnings from selling pigs to provide electricity to their household.

Last July 3, 2017, their 13 years of darkness ended.

“Sobra po ang pagpapasalamat ko, hindi ko po akalain na mas mapapaaga pa po yung pagpapakabit namin ng kuryente. Ngayon, buong bahay na po namin ang may ilaw”, she gratefully shared.

Together for a brighter days ahead

Her husband, who has prior knowledge in hog-raising, also helps in taking care of their pigs.

“Halin-hinan po kami sa pag-aalaga ng mga baboy, tulungan na lang po kami. Pag wala po ako sa bahay, siya po ang bahala magpakain at maglinis ng kulungan. Gusto naman po nya ang ginagawa nya dahil ang nasa isip nya ay para rin naman po ito sa amin”, Mary Jane proudly shared.

Mary Jane now enjoys raising hogs and wants to participate in the second cycle of hog-raising project.

“Gusto ko pa rin pong gawin ito, malay po natin balang araw magkaroon na rin po kami ng piggery”, she said.

For Mary Jane, this is just a start of their fruitful enterprise. She is hopeful that this will paved way to a brighter life for her family.

The SLP is a capacity-building program of the DSWD that provides suitable income-generating opportunities to identified poor, vulnerable and marginalized program participants to help improve their socio-economic well-being. xxx

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