Mylin, 23, lives with her partner Roderick and their nine-month-old daughter Yuri, in a house made of bamboo and palm leaves. They do not have electricity or proper water supply. Working as a farmer, Roderick makes roughly PHP2,000 (US$46.51) a month. His earnings equal US$0.51 per person, per day.
It’s hard to believe that Mylin is a university graduate. Granted an academic scholarship, Mylin earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology. After graduation, however, she struggled to secure a job and was unemployed. When she got pregnant, Mylin’s community labeled her a “scandalous person” and treated her as an outcast.
ICM’s Transform program is helping Mylin get back on track. Instead of being defensive to the judgemental comments about her premarital pregnancy, she is learning to control her temper. While previously Mylin shouted and threw things to release her anger, she now focuses her energy on improving her relationship with Roderick. She shared her Transform lessons with her boyfriend, and armed with this new knowledge, the two have changed their habits and are preparing for the future.
Together, they have improved household hygiene and sanitation. They used to drink water directly from the well, but now use solar disinfection to purify water before drinking. Mylin also takes better care of her house, making sure the area is clean to protect baby Yuri from diseases.
Mylin learned a variety of skills from Business-in-a-Box lessons in Livelihood training such as making fabric conditioner, dishwashing liquid, steamed rice cake and planting vegetables. She prioritized starting her own vegetable garden to provide food for the family. The harvest has helped Mylin and her family to save money and eat healthy meals.
“I am very thankful and blessed because of your generosity. I have learned so many things from the program. My life has changed because of what ICM has taught me. I hope ICM will help more people to transform their lives.”
Past mistakes and labels cannot stop Mylin from making the future she wants for her family. As Yuri learns to walk, Mylin plans to take her first steps as a business woman. As soon as they can afford it, Roderick and Mylin plan on getting married.
ICM runs Transform programs in nearly 1,000 communities across the Visayas and Mindanao regions of the Philippines every year. ICM is proud to partner with AT&T Foundation in Arlene’s community. From October 2015 to January 2016, AT&T Foundation sponsored Transform program in 12 slum communities in Zamboanga Del Norte, equipping about 2,220 family members with skills and strategies to measurably improve their lives.
By Marivic Rosales, ICM Communications Officer