Thanks to ICM’s Transform program, Abad Maria and Pejana’s green thumbs are helping to feed their families.
Fourteen years ago, Abad Maria took her three children and left her alcoholic husband. Now 47 years old, Abad lives with her children, one son-in-law and her three-year-old grandson in a small house built of wood scraps and bamboo. They illegally tap electricity from a neighbor.
The family’s only income comes from Abad’s eldest daughter, who works in a factory and sends her family P2,000 / HK$340 / US$45/AU$58 a month. This means Abad’s family lives on about P11 / HK$2 / US$0.25/AU$.32 per person per day.
Through ICM’s Transform program, Abad learned how to grow vegetables and was given seeds to start her own garden. She grows eggplant, chinese cabbage, cucumber and string beans in a modest garden in front of her house. It can be challenging growing plants in the heat but nevertheless, she has managed to harvest vegetables for her family to eat.
Abad also learned how to make puto kutsinta (brown rice cake) snacks to sell at the market. Abad plans to start selling these snacks when her grandchild is at school and she can move freely around the community selling her products. Until then, Abad is happy to maintain the vegetable garden with her family, to see her family eating the healthy food she is providing for them and feels positive about the future.
Pejana, 40, lives with her husband and four children in a house built of wood and steel with no bathroom of their own. Her husband works as a security guard, earning about P2,500 / HK$435 / US$56/AU$72 each month.
ICM’s Transform program taught Pejana how to care for her children’s health and hygiene and the importance of keeping her house clean and getting vaccinations for her children. Her youngest child is currently one-year-old and consumes most of Pejana’s time and attention, but she has still managed to grow some vegetables in plastic pots outside of her house. She wants her children to be able to eat fresh vegetables instead of going hungry. Pejana dreams of starting her own business as soon as her youngest child is older and requires less of her time. Until that time, she is content watching her children getting healthier thanks to the nutritious vegetables she is growing for them.