“‘Ang Babaeng Walang Pahinga’, yan po ang madalas na itawag nila sa akin,” Eva Pitas said in her usual cheerful voice.

Coming from a poor family, Eva has been into different kinds of job since she was 16. She worked as“kargador”in various grocery stores in Baguio City and later was hired as a saleslady at Mines View Park.

Eva, who is now 47 years old, continues to add items to the list of jobs that she does. Among of which is being an entrepreneur as she sells souvenir products at Mines View Park. At times, she also works as a saleslady at a thrift store. On her lucky days, she gets to engage in buy-and-sell scheme through a friend from Pampanga who would buy her wooden back scratcher in bulk. However, even with three jobs at hand, Eva never thought of taking some time to rest.

With three children in the family, Eva and her husband, Edwin, had to work hard to provide for their needs. However, as a photographer at Mines View Park, Edwin’s income is not constant. He would only work thrice a week, as there are two other photographers under his employer. They would only get paid a part from their total earning for the day for taking pictures of tourists at the park. However, with the proliferation of digital cameras and smart phones, only few tourists need the service of park photographers like Edwin.

For the family

Despite the efforts of the couple and with the increasing needs of the children, the family was among the 646households in Baguio City that were included in the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2010.“Akala ko ga-graduate na kami sa program. Pero noong nalaman ko po na ma-eextend ang coverage at ‘pag nag-18 [years old] pa ga-graduate, ang laking tuwa ko po kasi sobrang laki ng maitutulong nito saamin,” Eva confided.

However, with the Program’s Age Expansion, her youngest child, 12-year old Vanessa, is able to attend high school.“Malaking tulong po dahil ‘yung pambayad sa school ng mga anak ko ay natugunan. Mahirap po ang magpa-college lalo’t pamasahe pa lang ay kinakapos pa. Ngunit maraming salamat po sa Pantawid [Pamilya],” Eva shared. With the assistance from Pantawid Pamilya and perseverance, Eva and Edwin are able to send all their children to school, including two college students.

Another assistance was received by the family last April 2014 when Eva was selected as a program participant of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). Through the SEA-K modality, she received seed capital amounting to Php 10,000 for her livelihood project which is pressed flower and embossed card making. This has been a result of the program’s livelihood assessment on Eva which established that she has already an existing skill which she might use for livelihood.“Dahil na rin po sa maliit na puhunan na pinahiram ng SEA-K ay nakakatulong po sa pang-araw-araw namin.” Eva shared.

Apparently, Eva has been introduced to the Care Channels International in 2008. Care Channels International is a non-profit organization which helps the poor to move out of poverty through various opportunities and trainings. She took the opportunity and for six years now, having undergone trainings, she is now able to conduct trainings herself and even share to other Pantawid Pamilya Parent Leaders her knowledge about the art of dry-pressed flowers and handcrafted greeting cards. During the PaskuJuan: Holiday Bazaar, that was held last 30 November 2014, Eva was able to share her skill in making hand-made greeting card designs through an on-stage demo in front of the other SLP Participants.

For her self

Being a part of the Pantwaid Pamilya and SLP, Eva has been given another job- she was chosen to be the parent leader (PL) of their cluster. But unlike before, this job does not only give her the chance to help her family, but as a parent leader, she is now able to help herself too.

In a Parent Leader’s Meeting with DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman conducted in Baguio City on 29 December 2014, Eva was able to conquer her fear – talking in front of many people.

Isang bagay na gusto ko pong ipagpasalamat sa DSWD ay malaking tulong po sa mga katulad po namin na talagang kailangang-kailangan ang financial assistance po. Nandun na rin ang [pagbibigay ng] moral support sa amin, [at ‘yung pagkakataon na] pakikibahagi sa iba’t-iban tao. Noon po kasi medyo mahiyain po ako pero ngayon hindi na po. Noong ako po’y naging parent leader, na-invite po ako na magsalita sa harap ng ibang parent leaders, na-train din po sa pagharap sa media. Pero ang higit na ipinagpapasalamat ko, na-extend po ang coverage ng Pantawid Pamilya. Yung anak ko po na high school, may anim na taon pa para matulungan ng programa,” Eva gratefully shared to the Secretary.

Hindi lang po dahil sa pera, malaki rin po ang naitulong ng mga seminars at trainings ng Pantawid [Pamilya] na nagging dagdag kayamanan sa akin sapagkat ang mga natutunan ko po rito ay nakatulong sa pag-angat ng aking pagiging mahirap, naiangat ang mababang antas ng pinag-aralan,  at nagkaroon ng confidence sa sarili” Eva further shared.

Aside from developing self-confidence, it was noticeable how Eva was able to further strengthen her spiritual life as she gave Secretary Soliman a copy of Our Daily Bread, a calendar-style booklet which includes writing about the Bible and insights about the Christian living.

With these, Eva proves that being a recipient of DSWD programs does not only mean that they are given opportunities to improve their well-being not just economically but also personally. The Family Development Sessions (FDS) and other capacity building activities that she is able to attend as a DSWD beneficiary has also developed attitudes and values that she also shares to her children.

“Gustong-gusto ko po na makapagtapos ang mga ana

k ko para hindi po nila danasin ang hirap ng buhay na mayroon kami ngayon. Kaya ko pong magsikap para  makapagtapos sila, [at] magkaroon ng magandang buhay,”Eva emphasizing the importance of education.

As for Eva, she continues drreaming to further improve herself. “Pangarap ko po na mabigyan ng pagkakataon para makapag-aral rin ako. At kung papalarin ay matulungan din ako [ng mga anak ko]na maabot ang pangarap ko. Nawa’y maging channel of blessings din po ako sa iba, lalo na sa ating lipunan,”Eva said.

Eva continues being “ang babaeng walang pahinga” not because she has no choice, but it is because of her perseverance, inspiration, and dreams.#DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, STRELLE C. QUEJADO AND NERIZZA FAYE G. VILLANUEVA

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