Rosallyn Ollo, Community Volunteer, as told to Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva | DSWD-CAR

I never wanted to talk. I never wanted anything that would make me known. I never wanted these, or perhaps, I just never had the courage to do so.

For so long, I have always walked away from responsibility because I was afraid that I would be blamed if things would go wrong. I did not want to take part in any discussion because I did not want to say anything that can cause further discourse. It is just the way it is for me. But I have always hoped that things would become different for me. But how can I if I am just another person whose name is unknown to many?

This is the fight that I was long been caught in. It has been my life long struggle to break free from my insecurity and low self-esteem especially when talking in front of many people. I have worked for and with the people for a long time now. And public service is not new to me. But I have never overcome my fear in speaking in front of them.

As a barangay health worker, I reach out to every home in Barangay Lucab to make sure that everybody is in good health. I enjoy every moment that I spend listening and observing them. I am happy watching them receive the services that they deserve. I could not, however, celebrate because I am a witness of the hardship that we have as a community.

Before the inception of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) in Kabugao, Apayao, we stayed mum about our situation. I, for instance, believed that this is what it should be. No one had the courage to ask questions or demand for services for the development of our community. But this was the past.

During the implementation of this community-driven development program, various trainings and workshops were conducted by the coordinating teams of the Kalahi-CIDSS Project. As usual, I have observed far from the implementing team, watching how they would do things.

To my surprise, I have been chosen by the community to be the bookkeeper for the Project. At first, I was afraid to accept the responsibility. Fear slowly grew inside me. Yet, my desire to help my community fought back.

After various trainings and workshops conducted by the Coordinating Teams of the Kalahi-CIDSS Project, I have discovered my potentials.

I feel blessed and happy because of the triumph me and my community had over the challenges of the Project.

Despite the hardships we had due to the loss of our barangay local chief executive and the dilemma over the altering of our sub-project, we were able to complete the implementation of the farmland drainage canal which could benefit the farmers in our community.

With the cooperation and persistence of the community, we are able to finish our sub-project implementation in a short period of time. This made the community and the coordinating teams very pleased.

Still, I cannot deny the fact that I am much happier for I have now conquered the fears that have kept me boxed for a long time.

As a bookkeeper for the Kalahi-CIDSS Project, I have accepted the responsibility of managing the papers of our barangay. I look after the documents that our community needs for the implementation of the Project. I also make sure that signatories are able to sign these documents so that it can be processed at the Regional Project Management Office.

After one year of Kalahi-CIDSS in Lucab, our community experienced a great deal of change. Foremost, I was able to realize more important things. It made me understand that formal education is not the sole basis for a person to be able to do things right.

For me, the effort, initiative, and willingness of a person to take responsibility and participate in the activity matter. It is not what we have learned in school that makes us successful, but it is our attitude and commitment towards our goal that makes us accomplish things.

Now, I am no longer just a passive member of our community but an active agent of change. I am Rosalyn Ollo – a barangay health worker, a Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteer and a bookkeeper – a proud collaborator in my community’s fight against poverty. #

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