Pinoys are fond of ice candies especially during summer season. The cold refreshment has been part of the Filipino households and very popular especially among the kids. Others have viewed ice candy as Pinoy’s perfect refreshment not only during summer but all year-round. Aling Sufia Dador of Poblacion, Abra was one and she saw this as an opportunity to make things better for her household.
Growing up with a father who worked as a fish vendor to support his family, Aling Sufia, now 53, learned from him to seize every opportunity that arises anywhere and anytime. Selling ice candies is one chance that she did not one to miss. She also knows that she can do everything with the support of her family and the lessons of hard work that her father had instilled in her.
Aling Sufia has nine children and her husband works as a utility man in the Regional Trial Court of Abra. As a housewife, she understands that her husband’s job only pays a meager salary. Working is not an option for her because she needs to take care of their kids.
She and her husband tried renting a piece of land to till and to produce extra income for the family.
“Nag-uupa kami ng lupa para taniman ng palay at gulay. Pero may panahon talagang hirap na hirap kami kasi walang ani.”, she said.
After years of finding ways on how to put food on their table, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program opened a new opportunity for them to change their household’s situation.
“Ngayon mas malakas ang loob ko na hindi na magugutom ang mga anak ko na nakatira sa akin at beneficiaries ng programa. Yung iba kasi nag-asawana”, she said.
As a Pantawid beneficiary, she was eligible for a loan from Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) to put up her own business. Her ingenuity in looking at a popular refreshment as a source of income and her will to change the lives of her children have given her another day to wake up with hope for a brighter future.
ICE CANDIES FOR SALE
Aling Sufia accepted the Php 10,000.00 loan offered by SLP to materialize her idea of selling ice and ice candies to her neighbors and nearby communities. She bought a second hand refrigerator to start her small business. Without a prior experience in establishing a business only with strong will and determination to succeed, she successfully started her own business.
At first, she only sells ice candies to her neighbors. Since her children go to school near her house, she thought of selling ice candies to students during recess time.
“Kasama ko po ‘yung anak ko nag-bebenta ng ice candies sa school kapag recess.”, she said.
“Nabubuhay din kami sa pagtitinda ng ice candy kahit papaano. Yung anak ko tumutulong din siya sa pagbebentasa school para din yung kita ginagamit niyang baon yung iba.”, she said.
At night, she already prepares the ice candies. In the morning, she wakes up early to prepare her kids’ breakfast and prepare the ice candies for selling. It takes a lot of hard work but because of her strong determination to succeed for her family, she will never give up.
As a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary who receives grants for her children, she knows that it’s not permanent. To make sure that they have money to use for emergency purposes, she saves the extra money she receives from the grants and from selling ice candies. Saving is one of the most important lessons she learned from attending Family Development Sessions.
“Mabuti na yung may savings para kung may emergency, may pagkukuhanan ng pera.”, she said.
“At kahit sa 30 pesos a day na tubo, malaking tulong na din para sa amin. May pag-asang gumanda ang buhay sa pagbebenta ng ice candies ”, she added.
From plain housewife to an active Parent Leader
Before Aling Sufia became a grantee she was a housewife who never had the chance to travel and attend community activities. Today, Aling Sufia is a Parent Leader of Poblacion, San Isidro. There have been many changes in her life since she was chosen as a Parent Leader.
“Dati sobrang mahiyain ako, hindi ako lumalabas ng bahay. Pero ngayon dahil Parent Leader na ako lagging nasa trainings lalo na yung kapag nagkikita ang mga beneficiaries ng iba’t-ibang barangay.”, she said.
“Mas confident ako now lalo kapag sa trainings or gatherings may mga sharings tulad ng family day. Marami akong natutunan.”, she said.
She also leads her fellow beneficiaries on different community activities such as tree planting, Brigada Eskwela and special events such as Christmas parties.
Some beneficiaries in her area also visit her from time to time to ask advice regarding family matters. She’s happy to help her fellow beneficiaries but she confessed that sometimes people misunderstands her role.
“Minsan kami pa napapasama kung may pumupunta na beneficiary kapag nanghihingi ng tulong or advice”, she said.
Although her role has ups and downs, she is thankful for the fulfillment she gets from helping other beneficiaries.
Aling Sufia is one of the many Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who despite the absence of material wealth find happiness in helping others and in the little blessings she received everyday. And the fifteen to thirty pesos she earns every single day might not mean something to some of us but it brings hope to their family for a better future.# DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, JOMEL ANTHONY V. GUTIERREZ