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Find Your Balance

Yoga is not just about working out, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. The practice of yoga allows clients to find stillness in a world consumed with chaos. Finding Ones Balance. Peace and tranquility achieved through focused training appeals to everyone.

Some residents of Sanctuary Center during their yoga session

Certified Calm, one of the nation’s leading providers of health and wellness gear, and a long time champion of community wellness endeavors, through the initiative of Ms. Darcy Ong, Managing Director and Ms. Monique Sian, Assistant Marketing Manager, conducted a yoga class for thirty manageable residents of the Sanctuary Center on May 21, 2019. The activity aims to promote yoga as a holistic approach in improving overall wellness of heart, mind and body. The event was in part with their advocacy to strengthened the advocacy of women empowerment of the women of Sanctuary Center diagnosed with mental health condition.

Ms. Isabel Naval, Yoga Instructor introduced the yoga to the residents. Ms. Naval emphasized that yoga includes breathing exercises which intend to support relaxation, meditation which reduce stress. Ms. Sian added that practicing yoga is said to provide many health benefits both physical and mental. It has a significant effect on lowering the level of stress, anxiety and depression which are common symptoms of most of the residents of the Center. Sense of peace can be found while doing the activity in the form of relaxation and meditation. It was also found out that if improves quality of sleep. Yoga can also enhance body movement by increasing their flexibility and balance.

After the yoga session, residents seem calm and relaxed. Parlor games, meals and gift packs were given to all participants at the end of the activity.

Sanctuary Center is a half-way home for female, 18 years old and above who are improving from psychosis and other mental illness, managed by DSWD – NCR. It has a 100 bed capacity and is located in Welfareville Compound, Acacia Lane Mandaluyong City.###

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The Dream of a homeless

This is a story about a former homeless individual who have big dreams for her family. Her name is Liwanag Lopez Ocampo, who turned 41 years old on May 14, 2019. Her story is an inspiration to the members of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF) in Navotas. Liwanag represents other MCCT members who looks forward of having a good and better life for their families. They are also the people who are striving hard to experience wellness in their lives.

Liwanag lived quite a privileged life during her younger years. Her parents both worked at the Fishport of Navotas as vendors and biyahero as well. She studied in a well- known private school and reached second year college. During those times, she was living her dream and was ready to finish college. However, when she met Marlon, her common- law partner and better half, she began to experience a 360 degree turn in her life. She got pregnant at quite a young age of 19 years old.

Liway, as her friends call her experienced living life away from her parents and family. She started living with Marlon’s family while the latter, tried working to various jobs. Marlon finished a vocational course as electrician which he took for two (2) years. Life back then became quite difficult for Liway because of the adjustments she had to make. The couple was blessed with four (4) children. Her eldest is now a mother herself to a one year- old daughter. She stopped from school but she is now planning to enrol in Alternative Learning System (ALS) since her child is already able to walk and move along at home.

The three (3) children are now studying and being monitored as beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) for MCCT- HSF in the City of Navotas.

Liwanag’s family experienced their worst living condition when a misunderstanding between them and Marlon’s biological family arose. He was then working as a call center agent and eventually, stopped working. Since then, he started changing his ways toward his family and engaged himself in vices such as alcoholism and womanizing. Because of this, the couple’s relationship became a little shaky. From being a regular employee in a company, he turned into a caretaker of a small computer shop located in the same Barangay where they live.

Because of the problems that arose from their situation, the couple decided to move out of Marlon’s family house and lived under the ceiling of the computer shop where he worked. Given their family size, one could only imagine how hard it was for them to live the life of a homeless family. Liwanag tried selling different food outside of the said establishment to help her on the household expenses.

In the year 2015, the family was enumerated by the Listahanan and were assessed to be from eligible members of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT- HSF). They have been provided with rental assistance which they used wisely and is still sustainable until today.

Liway with one of her students

Because of her determination, Liway is now working as a private school teacher in Caloocan City and earns the starting salary of six thousand pesos (P6,000.00) which increases over time. She applied for a low tuition fee education at Navotas Polytechnic College and graduated in the year 2018 with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Education Major in General Education. During interview, Liway said giving her children the best future they deserved is what she always dreamed of. She also wants to inspire Marlon by being a good example to him through graduating and being a good provider for their family.

The cash grants which they received from their compliance with the conditionalities of the program were used for her children’s school needs. By proper management of said cash grants, improvement on their lives is being felt.

Presently, Liway is being encouraged by the Case Worker handling their Pantawid membership to apply for a vacant position at the Regional Office of DSWD- NCR to help improve their family’s overall well-being. Her husband on the other hand is presently looking for a job in the LGU of Navotas to assist Liway in providing for their basis sustenance.

Continuous mentoring is Liwanag’s pledge for her children to have a better future. She encourages them to dream big and dream like her because she believes that nothing is impossible if someone wants to improve his or her life. She also continues to impart the importance of education to her children and she sets good example. She also reminds them to always be grateful to the program which helped them during their plight.

“Ang maipapayo ko lang ay una, magdasal. Pangalawa, magkaroon ng target o goal na araw- araw iisipin kung paano ba magiging posible. Tapos maghanap ng mga tao o ahensya ng gobyerno na handang tumulong dahil mahirap bumangon ng nag-iisa. Mayroong mga scholarship programs at educational assistance ang gobyerno. Kailangan lang po ng sipag, tiyaga, determinasyon, inspirasyon at paraan para po magtapos sila sa pag- aaral at makuha ang mga pangarap nila. Ngunit kailangan ding tandaan na huwag abusuhin at dumepende lamang sa tulong.” – Liway Liwanang

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Working Together

Through the initiative of the City Links and in collaboration with the Local Government Unit of Caloocan, Tala High School, Pantawid Pamilya members and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, a garden was established inside the School.

In June 2018, the City Agriculture Office of Caloocan conducted training on Urban Farming to more than 100 Pantawid Pamilya members from Barangays 188, 187 and 176. Also DENR provided more than 1,200 various seedlings such as: eggplants, chili pepper, red chili, cabbage and okra.

Eventually, Parent leaders involved their children in gardening by bringing rice hull, chicken coop and providing recycled bottles for plant containers. These efforts, contributed to the progress of the gardening initiative. Said garden bonded the community relations between the Tala High school and Pantawid Pamilya members from said communities since most of the student members who were enrolled in the school belong from the said Barangays. It helped made their children be responsible not only academically but also in other extra-curricular activities which encouraged them to be more efficient and effective students and youth in their community.

Presently, the school’s feeding program benefited from the Urban Garden where half of the total harvested crops from the garden proceeded to the school and half to the Pantawid Pamilya members.

Clearly, all the activities and efforts only prove that we can achieve and make a change through working hand in hand by maximizing services of the National and Local Government agencies as well as other stakeholders who actively cooperated to bring this project to success.

“Working with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program members is one of my most fulfilling moments,” said Mrs. Jocelyn D.G. Antipala, School Focal Person. ###

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Rising from the Downfall

“Salamat po ng marami sa Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program dahil isa po ito sa nakatulong sa aming Pamilya. Kahit papaano po ang aming pangarap ay unti-unti na po naming nakakamit. Salamat po sa lahat ng bumubuo ng Programa, sa DSWD at sa Poong Maykapal. Maraming salamat po”. – Jennilyn and Benigno

Jennilyn with her family

At their early age, Jennilyn Marinas and Benigno Delbarrio started a family wherein both of them were not prepared for. Benigno was pushed to be a pedicab driver earning Php200.00 if he is lucky and sometimes, Php 50.00 which is indeed not enough to suffice their daily needs. To help her husband, Jennilyn decided to enroll in TESDA by taking up cosmetology focusing on manicure and pedicure. She provided manicure services to her neighbors as her initial customers and charged only Php20.00 per service. There were times that she and her husband had a fight due to financial problem and was left with no choice but to borrow money for them to survive.

On October 17, 2007, they experienced the most hard-hit downfall when their house got burned down and lose everything they had. This mishap made them live with their relatives in Bulacan and transferred to her mother-in-law in Montalban, Rizal after a year and went back to Paranaque on the same year.

Another sad moment was during Rhapunzel’ birthday. It truly broke their hearts as parents as they were not able to provide anything for their daughter. She is the eldest among her two (2) siblings and studying in Paranaque National High School-Main as Grade 8 student. Her brother’s name is Rhaven whi is in Grade II and Raizelyn, Kinder student in San Antonio Elementary School.

To sustain the needs of their children, Benigno simultaneously worked hard for multiple jobs as construction worker, water delivery boy and tricycle driver for additional income. The ray of hope on their lives eventually happened when they became member of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2014. Since then, they were able to provide their children’s needs in school and they can now celebrate birthdays. Sacrifices were replaced by motivation and inspiration by their children’s success and achievements.

Rhapunzel holding her award

As a member of the Program, doors of opportunities opened to Rhapunzel. She was encouraged to join school, church and other community activities as a choir member. She was also given the chance to take up voice lessons. She performed during the “Grand Vocal Recital of San Isidro Children Lesson Voice Program and won awards to every competition she joined.

In 2017, she joined the gymnastic class in high school and won the Bronze Medal during the Palarong Pambansa held in NCR on February 19, 2019.

Her perseverance and passion made her decide to join to participate in the cheering squad wherein their group won 2nd Place during the National Capital Region Cheer and Dance Qualifiers. Moving to the next round, they grabbed the 1st place in the “COED Senior Chher of National Cheerleading Champion” on March 10, 2019.

Meanwhile, the younger child, Ravhen also got an award from his school during their Recognition day on March 26, 2019 as “Natatanging Mag-aaral mula 1st-4th Grading Period.” Mrs. Marinas was able to get a new job as a Free Lance Senior Hairstylist while her husband has a regular job as a messenger. All of these hardworks and detrmination resulted to another worthwhile blessing, their new house in Cavite City.

“Lahat ng tagumpay na aming natatamo ay masasabi kong tagumpay rin ng programa ng Pantawid Pamilya. Kabahagi naming ito sa pagbangon sa aming buhay,” said Jennilyn. ###

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A blessing to everyone

May Malasakit Story of Pastora Lydia Serrano

Pastor Lydia Serrano is a senior Reverend of Christian Challenge Church. Primarily, she is a Resource Speaker in the conduct of FDS. But through her passion to her field, Pastor became Coordinator of International Holistic Engagement for Life and Progress (IHELP) – National Capital Region from 2012 to 2018. And now, the National Coordinator of I-HELP.

It has been more than eight meaningful years that the said CSO partner works with the Department in the implementation of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program particularly in the facilitation of Family Development Sessions. Through the FDS-Plus implementation in 2012, I-HELP partnered with the program. Though the FDS-Plus ended in 2013, it did not hamper the said organization to continuously reach Pantawid Pamilya communities with their values formations and help poor families through the provisions of social assistance available in their affiliated and community based churches.

Pastor Lydia is considered one of the passionate Partners of the Department to different initiatives and undertakings. She spearheaded historical and worthwhile activities which include – mobilization and motivation of Pantawid Pamilya members in Manila to hold a Unity Walk towards institutionalization of the program on April 2016 as well as the active lobbying of the program to legislators and senate offices. She also provided and developed various activities to Pantawid Pamilya members in NCR such as – counseling for conflict couples, emergency assistance for fire victims and burial assistance. She even expanded her networks and social mobilizations to share the opportunities for members in Tondo, Manila on livelihood, skills and employment prospects. Additionally, she mentored Parent Leaders, feeding and provision of school supplies and after school care to children members. She untiringly conducted stress management / debriefing activities to Pantawid Pamilya staff which make her recognized as the spiritual advisor of some of the staff as well.

Recently, she told an incident which truly describes her kindness. “One of the youth came with his half-brother asking for assistance and an alleged victim of domestic violence. “Madalas po akong pinapalo ng tubo na bakal”, according to the child. The victim went to sought assistance from nearby Precinct and the official advised the child to undergo “medico legal” in order to file the case. Pastor Lydia assisted the family through financial assistance for medical examination and accompanied them to the precinct and barangay for blotter filling. During the counseling, she found out that the child is a Pantawid Pamilya member and she immediately referred to the concerned Area Coordinator.

Her compassion showed kindness, caring, and willingness to help others in need without expecting anything in return. Despite the usual activities of their church, she managed to extend aid for the needy. Out of her pocket, she pooled resource. Pastor Lydia has sited stories on helping members experiencing the same difficulties in life.

Because of these, she is motivated and grateful with the positive changes to the Pantawid Pamilya members especially on their spiritual well-being. Likewise, the Pantawid Pamilya staff appreciates her untiring support to the program and the program members. Also, for being a life and spiritual mentor to some Pantawid Pamilya personnel.

“Hindi ako mag-sasawang tumulong sa ating mga miyembro dahil alam ko na kalooban ng Diyos ang mga ginagawa ko at hindi Siya nag-sasawa sa pag-bibigay ng kalakasan, karunungan at biyaya sa buhay ko at ng aking pamilya. – Pastor Lydia A. Serrano


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Guarding the Future

Becoming a parent may have brought profound changes in one’s personal life especially when you are trying to adapt the new challenges physically, emotionally and even financially.

Lara Jane Mejica, 31 years old from Caloocan City was a former sophomore nursing student when she got pregnant at the age of 22. Since then, she just stayed at home for more than 8 years taking care of her two children ages 9 and 7. Her husband worked as a sales clerk but only on a contractual basis and the income was not sufficient. “Masakit sa damdamin bilang isang magulang, na hindi maibigay ang mga pangangailangan ng kanyang mga anak”.

Aside from that, the family is living in a disputed area that is currently under a court case by a private individual resulting to limited means of living such as transportation, development of physical resources, and even threats to be evacuated from their area.

In November 2016, Lara Jane participated in DSWD-NCR Sustainable Livelihood Program’s (SLP) community-based free skills training under Employment Facilitation Track for security guards. This was in partnership with CMP Federal Security Agency. At first, Lara was hesitant to join the training since getting out of her comfort zone for almost 8 years needs a lot of courage and determination especially in pursuing once dream and ambition.

Despite of her daily struggle as a mother while facing financial difficulties, Lara persevered and finally completed the training. Through this training and successful partnership, she was able to find employment right away in Wilcon Builders Inc.

Guard Lara with her children

Today, she is very proud and thankful that she was able to earn as much as Php 20,000.00 monthly. This financial success greatly supports their family’s capacity to provide their necessities especially for her children. Through her job, she is also secured with her monthly contributions in SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig, some of the benefits that she will earn in the future. Earning this amount was just a dream before and now turned into reality. Lara Jane Mejica, a simple mother before can now secure the future of her family.

“Bilang isang babae, dapat nag go-grow tayo at hindi natatapos sa apat na sulok lamang ng tahanan. Dapat sa sarili natin, matuto tayong mag pursige para sa ikauunlad ng ating pamilya. Kinaya ko ang pagbabago! Salamat, SLP!

For Lara, doing her duty at work is not just simply guarding her workplace but also means guarding her family’s future!

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DSWD NCR tuloy-tuloy ang serbisyong walang bahid pulitika

Bilang tugon sa ilang mga isyu na lumabas noong nakaraang panahon ng halalan, binigyang diin ng Department of Social Welfare and Development sa National Capital Region (DSWD NCR) na patuloy ang pagbibigay nito ng tulong-pinansyal sa mga pamilya at indibidwal na nangangailangan ng walang pagkiling sa sinumang pulitiko.

Inuulit din ng DSWD NCR na tuloy-tuloy ang pagsasagawa ng payout para sa tulong medikal, pampaaral, pampalibing at transportasyon sa ilalim ng programang Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

Sa nakalipas na panahon ng halalan, piniling ilagi ng DSWD NCR ang pagsasagawa ng payout sa loob mismo ng Field Office. Ito ay upang masiguro na ang programa ay hindi mabahiran ng pulitika o magamit ang aktibidad sa posibleng pangangampanya ng mga kandidato.

Mula sa ikalawang araw ng Mayo hanggang ika-10, mahigit 2,000 indibidwal na nangangailangan ng kagyat na tulong ang napaglingkuran ng DSWD NCR. Idagdag pa rito ang iba pang program nito tulad ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program at Social Pension Program na patuloy ang serbisyo noong panahon ng halalan.

Ipinaliwanag din ng DSWD NCR sa publiko lalo na sa mga benepisyaryo ng mga programa nito na hindi maaapektuhan ang anumang benepisyo na kanilang natatanggap kahit sino pa man ang kanilang ibinoto noong nakaraang eleksiyon.

Ang mga programa ng DSWD ay apolitikal at may sariling proseso sa pagpili at pagtanggap ng mga benepisyaryo. Maging sinumang kandidato ang magwagi sa halalan, ang DSWD NCR ay patuloy na magbibigay ng serbisyong nararapat, mapagkalinga at may malasakit. ###

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Dalaw sa Kabataan

On May 12, 2019, Arellano University Plaridel High School Class 1974 conducted an education visit at Nayon ng Kabataan as part of their charity program which the beneficiaries are the residents under the custody of the residential care facility.

Children of Nayon while enjoying the activity

Nayon ng Kabataan is their chosen institution, as their first time in the center, they felt lobe while welcomed and entertained by children and staff of the center. They prepared various activities such as singing, dancing and fun games where the residents actively participated.

Mr. Valentino Santos Jr., the focal person of the activity together with his batchmates shared their blessings to the residents of the institution through giving new bags with school supplies which they can use for the incoming school year. Also, the children enjoyed the food provided by the visitors and showed gratitude for all the gifts they received.

“Patuloy kaming magpapaabot ng biyaya sa mga kabataan ng Nayon ng Kabataan sapagkat para na namin silang anak na karapat-dapat arugain at mahalin” shared by Mr. Santos.

Nayon ng Kabataan is a residential care facility for the abused, orphaned, abandoned, neglected and exploited children ages 7-17 years old, both male and female. It is located at Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City.###

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