To say that life is challenging for Melina and her family would be an understatement. When she joined Transform, she made sure she graduated and got her certificate, despite all the challenges that she had to go through.
Melina lived in a house made of bamboo, scrap materials, and old G.I. sheets with her husband and three children. Her husband was a fishpond caretaker and earned Php 4500 (US$79.00) a month, barely enough for their daily needs. He was the sole breadwinner of the family and Melina took care of their three children ages seven, 11 and 12.
Their two youngest kids contracted a condition that took away their ability to walk. They still don’t know what happened because they couldn’t get a doctor’s diagnosis. Melina stayed home to take care of them. And because of their children’s condition, they also had to allot some of their already limited budget to specific expenses such as medicines, diapers, milk, and vitamins.
When the pastor in their community invited Melina to participate in the Transform program, she was happy to be offered the opportunity, but hesitated. Who would take care of their two sick children at home?
“I talked to my husband about it. We agreed that he would be home early so I can attend the program,” Melina shared.
Melina didn’t expect much from Transform, but she learned a lot and applied them in her daily life — from her relationship with her family, to streamlining their expenses, and keeping their house clean. She also started her own business from what she learned from the Livelihood sessions: making and selling potholders.
During her spare time, after making sure that her children had everything they needed, she took the opportunity to weave and make potholders. Since weaving didn’t require her to go outside, she was able to continue her business during the Covid lockdowns.
“I didn’t have much or saved money with my earnings since I added them to our budget for my children’s medicine, milk and diapers,” she said. The additional income also helped Melina to buy food for her family and also to give her eldest allowance for school.
Melina is grateful that she now has the means to supplement their income, and she hopes to be able to grow her business enough so she can save more to move to a better house soon.