“A hardworking mother, a wife, and a passionate breastfriend.”

This is how her colleagues describe Jocelyn ‘Celyn’ Llano – Sagubo, a former beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiary from Lualhati, Baguio City. 

After she bids the program goodbye in 2019, Celyn has become a household name in her community who used poverty as a motivation to succeed and be an advocate of change. 

Humble beginnings

Celyn’s family was registered in the program in 2013 with high hopes to give a better future for her family especially for her two sons. Like many other 4Ps households, Celyn’s life before was out of sorts. 

“I would have pitied myself because we had really nothing, back then. There was a time when we had no food to eat. My mother would cook lugaw (porridge) and she would beg for rice from our neighbors just for us to have food,” Celyn recounted in vernacular. 

Their dire situation coupled with action and motivation drives her and her husband to dream big for their family. 

In 2015, Celyn did not think twice to join the massage training provided by the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD FO CAR) in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH). 

While she was on training, her husband, Romy, who is from Itogon, Benguet would make sure to attend to their children. 

With hard work and perseverance, Celyn became a Licensed Massage Therapist on June 6, 2016. From then, she would accept on-call home massage services while building linkages and network with her co-massage therapists, among other left and right decent jobs. 

An advocate of change and a ‘breastfriend’ 

From battling poverty and multi-tasking as a wife, a working mother, a sister, Celyn managed to pursue her passion to help in little ways she can as she laid the foundation of success. 

In 2018, Celyn together with her two siblings and a friend who are also massage therapists started their own business – a venture that is not just for profit, but an avenue to reach out to mothers who are experiencing difficulties in their lactation journeys. 

The establishment of their enterprise at first is never easy. But with strong determination and hard work, their dreams have started to turn into reality. Their small “Lactation Spa and Clinic of the North” has become a success catering to mothers from various walks of life.  

Her siblings and friends, whom she considered as ‘breastfriends’ because of their breastfeeding advocacy and the objective to help lactating mothers and soon-to-be mothers, made her life more meaningful aside from the love and support of her husband and children.    

After a couple of years, they renamed and rebranded their enterprise as the Breastfeeding Care Center of the North.

Based at the Eco Building, Assumption Road, Baguio City, the Breastfeeding Care Center of the North is a one-stop-shop for nurturing moms who need help in their breastfeeding journey. The center also conducts outreach programs to mothers and babies in hospitals, clinics, homes, and communities.They also faciliate live streaming, webinars, and capacity activities to health partners from DOH and Barangay Health Workers. 

Now a CSO partner 

From being a beneficiary to an advocate of change, Celyn continues  to help attain the health and nutrition objectives of 4Ps. 

In December 2021, the Breastfeeding Care Center of the North formally inked a Memorandum of Agreement with DSWD FO CAR as one of its Civil Society Organization partners under the Gabay and Kaagapay partnership frameworks. 

The Center contributes in furthering the health and wellness of family beneficiaries especially the lactating mothers and families by conducting collaborative series of wellness sessions. 

Remarkably, the center also employed a 4Ps beneficiary in 2019 who is now one of the most requested massage therapists of the center. 

Keeping the passion to help

Celyn shared that engaging with DSWD CAR is one of the most fulfilling successes she ever attained. She attends to 4Ps parents gathering and Family Development Sessions (FDS) to share her story and encourage the family beneficiaries to strive hard and not to fully depend on the program. 

She also encourages those assessed non-poor households not to feel sad, but rather, to be proud of themselves because they are able to lift the status of their family and their exit from the program could give hope and opportunities for other poor households too. 

With the employment of Celyn and having a regular source of income, she willingly waived their rights and privileges from the program in August 2019. 

At present, Celyn and their center continuously support the program with her ‘breastfriends’-breast counselors, and breastfeeding mothers. She lives as a resilient and persevering woman who continuously share and empower women. 

Her two children are still studying, but, she is positive that with proper guidance and strong faith in God, together with her loving husband, they can all soar to greater heights.Her story reflects the true Matatag, Maginhawa, and Panatag na Pamilyang Pilipino with the burning desire to step forward and lift the status of their lives with strong will and positive attitude. ### Ms. Ellen William, former 4Ps SWO III and Marlo C. Abyado Jr., 4Ps Information Officer, DSWD-CAR Social Marketing Unit

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