Many mothers from ultra-poor communities are housewives who are dependent on their husbands’ small incomes. The pandemic, which caused job and income loss, has made their situations even worse. Through ICM’s 2R (Refresh and Renew) program, we were able to help these women through a difficult time.
Catherine, a mother in her early twenties, was proud of her newfound cooking skills she gained through the Transform program. She learned how to cook kutsinta (steamed rice cakes) and banana cake, which she sold to neighbors. Going around her community to sell her snacks even became a way for her to get exercise!
Catherine was so inspired to earn and save money for her family that she joined two different Transform savings groups. One of her savings groups, the Pagdasig Savings Group, managed their own business selling detergent and split the income among the members. However, just like many entrepreneurs, their business was affected by COVID-19. They had to stop their operations, and everyone in the group withdrew their individual savings to cope up with the pandemic.
Catherine did not let this situation discourage her. Even though she was pregnant with her third baby, she continued her snack business. The livelihood lessons she learned from Transform and the support from her neighbors helped her stay motivated.
She shared, “Those were very difficult times, but I didn’t let it affect me. I continued selling home-cooked snacks to my neighbors until I was eight months pregnant. I just stopped after I gave birth because I had to take care of my baby. But I’m planning to go back to selling soon.”
When ICM started its 2R program to help out Transform savings groups, Catherine was hesitant to join because she was caring for her five-month-old son. Thankfully, her mom stepped up to help. Catherine joined the training and was inspired to open multiple businesses! “I opened a sari-sari store just last month, and I also resell clothes,” Catherine said. “I decided to engage in business while I’m at home. ICM’s 2R Program taught me how to handle my small businesses well.”
Her savings group also revived their business plans. Using their PHP2,500 (US$48) cash grant from ICM, the members plan to put up a sari-sari store and start doing business together again. Aside from this, the group has once again started saving, with each member consistently setting aside a small amount for their group funds.
Catherine is grateful for the new business opportunities that became possible through our donors’ support. “I would like to thank the Lord and ICM for reaching our community. The cash grant you’ve given us will help our savings group a lot. Thank you so much!”