At ICM, we see that the women in our participant families play a vital role in their homes. When they are empowered and discover their worth and confidence, they launch their entire family forward and create an impact in their community.
Meet Violeta! She lives with her husband and daughter in the mountainous regions of Zamboanga del Norte. They live in a house made of nipa and bamboo. Violeta’s husband works as a coconut gatherer, which is seasonal, resulting in an income that is neither stable nor reliable. To make ends meet, Violeta found herself borrowing money from neighbors, relatives, and even lending businesses.
“There were times where I borrowed money to pay for a previous debt and I felt so ashamed when people would come to our house every day to collect money. Some days I would have no money, so I would ask for a favor that they would allow me to pay double the next day. I felt depressed and I didn’t know where I could go and who could understand and provide for our needs.”
Through Transform, Violeta was empowered and trained to use her talents and skills, some she already had. She says, “I already had an interest in cooking but I didn’t have the idea and confidence to sell snacks to my neighbors. Upon attending Transform, I learned the recipe and ingredients to puto cheese (steamed rice cakes with cheese toppings) and banana cakes and how to make a business out of selling them.”
Her snack selling has brought in an extra PHP200 (US$4) every day! As a result, her family has been able to begin paying off every debt they owed. She has even begun to save money through her personal savings as well as through a savings group. Through their savings, her family has purchased a piglet. Beyond the finances, she is now able to have peace of mind because she feels secure. She states, “I am so thankful because whether rain or shine, I can sell snacks and earn money.”
Not only has Violeta been able to help her family change their financial situation and outlook for the future, but she’s also using what she’s learned to help other women do the same. “My sister lives in a different municipality. She visited me once and was able to see me as I cooked “puto cheese”. She was amazed that I was able to cook and have a business! After that, I shared the recipe with her.”
Through Violeta’s life, we are able to see the impact that is brought about when we empower these women. When a woman’s life improves and her perspective broadens, everyone in the community benefits.