“I’m tired of being a mother.”
With five children at home and an unemployed, unmotivated husband, Cheryl spent most of her days desperately trying to find a way to feed her family of six. Selling oysters, when she could find them, was Cheryl’s only job, but most days, she found only the rising tide of helplessness as she was unable to make enough money to feed her family.
Hope began to flicker in Cheryl’s heart the day she was invited to attend ICM’s Transform program. She reasoned to herself, “You can’t buy knowledge, that’s why I will grab the opportunity to join.”
Cheryl eagerly put into practice the skills she learned to make and sell snacks. On days she could not find oysters to sell, Cheryl would cook and sell the Puto Cheese (rice cakes with cheese) she had learned to make in the Transform class.
The first day Cheryl sold snacks, she made enough to pay the technician who had come to her home, ready to turn off their electricity. It was a wonderful feeling to see tangible results of her new learning. The daily sales from the cheese cakes is between US$4-$5.
Parents feel proud when they can take care of their children, and Cheryl is no different. Her children were delighted when their mother was finally able to buy them new uniforms and shoes for school. Having been taught the value of saving from Transform, Cheryl has been able to set aside an additional US$11.20 for emergencies and her five children’s future education.
Cheryl was amazed by the knowledge she gained in the Health lessons as well. She now makes herbal remedies for her five kids when they get sick instead of having to find a way to buy medicine.
Cheryl also gained understanding that there are natural ways to prevent many common illnesses. She learned the importance of hand washing and keeping the house clean so her kids will not be exposed to disease. Cheryl was excited to discover that long exposure to sunlight kills bacteria to prevent waterborne diseases in water. Previously, she had believed the ‘old wives’ tale’ that putting bottled water under the sun would cause diarrhea!
With all this new knowledge, Cheryl is able to look past her husband’s decision not to find work and focus on find solutions to problems that she is able to solve.
ICM’s Transform program is a 16-week learning experience that expands the capabilities that the ultrapoor need to flourish. Weekly, ICM Health and Livelihood trainers join the community pastor and teach ICM’s interactive Values, Health and Livelihood curriculum.
By James John Lana, ICM Communications Officer