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I Survive (The Story of Ma. Antonieth Cipriano )

Ms. Cipriano (in yellow shirt) gamely poses for a picture with her children

I survive, kahit walang sumusuporta sa akin, pinansyal, emosyonal, made-depress ka pag hindi ka stable.”  Ms. Ma. Antonieth Cipriano became a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and now a proud mother after overcoming the challenges of being a solo parent dealing with the reality of poverty in our country.

BEFORE PANTAWID PAMILYANG PILIPINO PROGRAM

Ms. Cipriano resides at Kaunlaran Village, Navotas City, and a graduate of B.S Customs at Philippine Maritime Institute (PMI). Her educational attainment did not exempt her from the realities of poverty. She worked at a shipping company for seven (7) years and struggled to find a regular occupation from 2008-2012. Adding to the struggles of looking for a regular occupation are the challenges of being a solo parent. She is a solo parent for 17 years to her three (3) children Maria Renz Cipriano (21), Rallion Antonio Cipriano (18), and Rohan Cipriano (16) she described herself in this stage as a “Worrying Mother”, worrying about how she will raise her children and provide their daily needs most especially in the aspect of education. Due to financial difficulties, she openly shared that there were times where she asked her children to miss school for a day because she can’t afford to provide money for their school expenses. She also recalled the moment when she asked her eldest child to stop schooling for a while because it was the only solution she thought that time to alleviate their situation. In both cases, her children refused and cried at her, a moment that breaks her heart as a mother.

PANTAWID PAMILYANG PILIPINO PROGRAM MEMBER

Ms. Ma. Antonieth became a member of Pantawid Pamilya for four (4) years and her two (2) younger children were her grantees. She immediately became a parent leader and according to her, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program provided a lot of opportunities for their family. She highlighted the great contribution of the program in terms of developing self growth and awareness through Family Development Sessions. According to her, she learned a lot during seminars and trainings that she applies every day and uses her experiences as a former beneficiary to intervene to the current beneficiaries of the program as Social Welfare Assistant (SWA). The cash provision might be small but, it was a great help especially when you don’t have any source of income, she added. They lived at her parents’ house which is also at Navotas City and rented their previous house, they spend the rental payments for their daily necessities and budget the cash provided by the program on her children’s education. While a Pantawid Pamilya member, she applied for a part-time job at DSWD as SWDI enumerator and became part of the team that conducts targeting that time. She later applied for Social Welfare Assistant (SWA) position at DSWD-NCR. For four (4) years of being part of the program, it gives her the chance to fulfill her dreams for her children – finish their education. Thus, she spent the cash grants on her children’s education especially because she saw their determination to finish their studies. Because of the program, she learned to tap other possible source of services or link her children to those services that could help them especially in the aspect of medical and educational needs.

“Kase minsan madedepress ka pag nakita mo yung ibang nanay na solo parent hindi niya makitang matapos yung mga anak niya.” This became an inspiration for Ms. Ma. Antonieth to do her best in order for her children to finish their studies whatever it takes for the benefit of their future.

According to her, Family Development Sessions also contributed to her role as a solo parent mother for her children, she became aware of their rights and the different child and youth laws. Aside from that, it kept them busy on something productive and self-developing activities instead of wasting their time gossiping or playing bingo on their community, she added.

POST PANTAWID PAMILYANG PILIPINO PROGRAM/SOCIAL WELFARE ASSISTANT

After being part of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, for almost four (4) years, Ms. Ma. Antonieth later on applied for a SWA position which is according to her was her own decision for her to continuously attend the needs of her family. She is now working as SWA of Operations Office 2 for two (2) years. Her biggest achievement is that she was able to have her eldest daughter finished her college years and is now working. Next year, her second child is about to finish his college years taking up Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education Major in Mathematics, while her youngest child still has a long way to go as a Grade 12 student.

When asked about her present job as a Social Welfare Assistant, she responds, “Mas maraming responsibility bilang SWA pero financially stable na, kinakaya ko na all by myself.” She described herself in this stage as a “Proud Mother” from the “Worrying Mother” she labeled herself before she became part of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. The only thing that she still hope for is a stable job to still support her family, she now believe that whatever challenge or struggles that will come, “we will survive.”

This post was written by:

- who has written 422 posts on DSWD Field Office NCR Official Website.


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