Ma. Carmen Cabuguang, 55, once lived in a make-shift house made of bamboo scraps as flooring with recycled sacks of cement serving as their walls and roof. Her husband also died leaving their four children under her care.
Being a single mother, she continued on solely raising her children through selling breakfast meals and doing extra jobs to provide for their basic needs. She has tried almost everything including working abroad as a domestic helper for certain years.
In 2017, she found out about the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of DSWD and its offered Employment Facilitation Track aside from the Microenterprise Development. Having an interest in labor construction including its widespread opportunities in Metro Manila, Carmen defied her fears as a woman and her capacity to do this kind of job which is historically dominated by men.
After months of intense training in one of SLP’s partner school with the help of their assigned Project Development Officer, she graduated and passed the National Certificate (NCII) examination of TESDA for Shielded Metal Arc Welding.
However, despite of her earned credentials during that time, looking for a welding job at the age of 49 was quite challenging for a mother like her. Aside from the skills, the physical fitness and strength required by the construction industry seems so impossible for her to land on a job.
But this doesn’t stop Carmen on pursuing her dreams. A single mother will always do everything to protect and provide for her family in different capacities no matter what. Finally, after many tries, she was hired in a construction company who handles big projects such as building various SM Malls. She was actually the eldest one among the very few lady welders.
Welding is a process of joining materials using high heat to melt the parts together. Same with the life of Carmen who have to undergone many challenges, this served as her heat to refine and bring her family together over these years.
From the meager income that she earned before in selling breakfast meals, Carmen is now stable and earning enough to support her children especially her youngest, whom she managed to send in private school.
Today, she is proud to have the confidence of having statutory contributions in SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-ibig as a result of her employment. Aside from these, she also managed to provide renovation to their house little by little where she and her son did most of the actual labors. From the values in financial management instilled to her during those Pantawid and SLP’s training sessions, she opened a savings account and annual insurance policy in a microfinance company.
From the values in financial management instilled to her during those Pantawid and SLP’s training sessions, she opened a savings account and annual insurance policy in a microfinance company.
In June 2019, Ma. Carmen Cabuguang was recognized by the DSWD thru Sustainable Livelihood Program as one of the notable beneficiary of the during the Sulong Bayanihan in Sequioa Hotel, Quezon City
Her family was welded together using the heat of life challenges powered by the energy source from her perseverance, faith, passion, and inspiration from her children.
“Malaki po ang pasasalamat ko sa SLP, kasi kung hindi dahil sa kanila, hindi mababago ng ganito ang buhay ko”
She never thought that her leap of faith to accept the welding course offered by the Sustainable Livelihood Program will ignite her sparkling light as a mother which created a bond on her family that will last forever.