Absolute Beginner

With an infant at home, Angie was hesitant to agree to attending ICM’s Transform program. She thought the responsibilities of motherhood and the unpredictability of babies would make it too difficult to attend the weekly sessions. However, Angie was excited at the opportunity of changing her family’s income and signed up for the program.

The 24-year-old’s commitment paid off when she began learning new skills and new ways to tackle problems. Especially since the birth of their son, Churt, the young family from Bacolod was living on a very tight budget from the money Angie’s husband, Leonel, earns as a seasonal farm laborer. Typical of those living in ultra poverty in ICM areas, Angie and Leonel earn less than US$0.50 a day.

Through the Values classes, Angie learned some key lessons on forming positive relationships. Angie says, “I realized that nagging my husband is not helpful to either of us,” which led to her changing her behavior and attitudes. Angie admits that she is now a better wife, mother and friend, adding, “Whenever I cannot control my anger, I make sure that I apologize for my mistakes.”

As a new mum, Angie’s primary concern has been for the health of her son. She sterilizes her son’s bottles, purifies water and ensures he has a nutritious diet by serving him vegetables and rice from ICM’s food packs. The Health lessons also taught Angie how to care for Leonel. When her husband burned his arm with boiling water, Angie knew to place the arm under cold running water rather than immediately placing something on the affected area. 

Embracing the challenge of the Livelihood classes, Angie used her newly acquired cooking skills to make and sell sticky sweet rice cakes, adding US$6.12 (PHP300) a week to the household income. “I have started to become financially independent,” says Angie. The family now has enough for their daily needs and has begun saving, enabling Angie to expand her business by investing in new equipment.

Transform has given Angie the ability to visualize a healthy, financially secure and loving future. She says with gratitude, “Thank you for helping mothers like me who have just started family life.”

In 2015-16 ICM was able to provide help, inspire hope and create change in 34,706 ultra poor families across the Philippines. 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 pastor as they teach ICM’s interactive Values, Health and Livelihood curriculum.

By Irene V. Secuelan, ICM Communications Officer

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