Despite living in a small bamboo shack with no electricity or bathroom, Grace, 37, looks forward to the future. She has just completed ICM’s Transform program, where she learned how to use resources that are close at hand to feed and take care of her family.
One of these resources is her humble garden. Okra and water spinach grow in small plastic bags that hang on the wall and will feed her, her husband and their 11 year old daughter. Directly beneath, a modest patch of soil grows a variety of herbs.
Learning to use herbal medicine from her own garden has saved Grace’s family from spending the little income they have on medicine from the pharmacy. Not only can she treat the family’s coughs and colds but she can also treat her husband’s hypertension, which required regular and costly medication.
As a member of an ICM community savings group, which sells soap and will start a rice business soon, Grace provides an extra source of income for her family. Once she has enough capital, she will start her own business, making puto cheese (steamed rice cakes) and salted egg snacks, the Transform program taught her to make.
Before Transform started, Grace’s husband, Reneboy, wondered how Grace’s personality might change. Grace had always been hot tempered and the couple frequently fought. But as she attended more classes, Reneboy witnessed that his wife was softening and he noticed she was finding joy and peace in her daily life. Through ICM’s Values training, Grace learned how to pray regularly, how to respect those around her and increase her awareness of God. Reneboy is very much encouraged by Grace’s motivation and admires her new found empowerment, which she is using to create a better life for their family.
by Kim Thomson, ICM Volunteer