Carrying her three-month old daughter, Arlyn walked four kilometers round trip to her weekly Transform classes. However, the 30-year-old did not mind travelling the long distance. “I didn’t mind the difficulties because I wanted to learn,” said Arlyn.
With four children, one of whom has cerebral palsy, it was tough for Arlyn to leave home, but her son’s medical costs were draining the family income and she needed to earn money. She was counting on Transform to give her the knowledge on how she could make money for her family’s needs. Her husband, Leo, makes US$20 (PHP1000) a month working as a forest ranger, an amount that does not cover the family’s needs. They live in a small home constructed of wood and scrap materials, and their source of light is a gas lamp.
Each week, the Puerto Princesa, Palawan housewife would fetch water, do laundry and cook breakfast before heading off for the Transform classes. Arlyn’s self-confidence grew as she applied what she learned in the Transform sessions. She started to earn a monthly income of US$30 (PHP1,500) from a small business cooking and selling puto cheese (steamed rice cakes with cheese). Finally earning an income meant the family did not have to go hungry and the children could attend school.
Her new business enabled her to save, giving her whole family hope and certainty for their future. Arlyn is proud about growing her savings—which reached US$5 (PHP250) by the end of the program. She’s focused on building enough capital to diversify the snacks she sells to earn even more money.
After learning basic but effective health and hygiene tips in the program, Arlyn now diligently ensures that her kids wash their hands before meals and after using the toilet. “I am now more concerned for my children’s hygiene,” she said. Garbage from her home is now segregated and properly disposed of to prevent the spread of infection. When someone in the house catches a common illnesses like a coughs and colds, Arlyn can use herbal remedies to heal the ailments.
And with her newfound knowledge and skills, Arlyn offers her insight on where these came from. Since Transform, Arlyn has a positive outlook, despite her situation She is hopeful that the future will bring better things than she has today. She is grateful for Transform, but even more so for people like you, that brought Transform to her.
“Thank you for your big heart for people like us!”
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 Pamela Luna V. Rabe, ICM Communications Officer