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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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Haven for Women celebrates Sports Fest 2019

Haven for Women residents and staff while enjoying their Sports fest

The Haven for Women conducted its month long celebration of their Sports Fest which started on April 11 to May 11, 2019 with the theme “Tagisan ng Lakas sa Tag-init”, held at Haven for Women Social Hall.

A kick-off parade from Haven for Women to Marillac Hills marked the commencement of the month-long activity. This was participated by 138 residents and staff who were divided into four (4) teams. The lighting of torch and the presentation of the team banners followed.

Ms. Catherine Taleño, OIC Center Head of Haven for Women, gave her opening message emphasizing the significance of sports and the participation of all the staff and residents to said activity.

Cheering competition, Ball games, Board games and Parlor games are some of the sports played during the activity which showed teamwork, camaraderie and sportsmanship among the team members.

Culmination activity where awarding of winners and certificates took place was held on the final day of the celebration.

The yearly celebration of Summer Sports Fest gives the residents the venue to showcase their ability on sports and a venue for bonding and socialization.

Haven for Women is a temporary shelter and protective custody to women ages 18-59 years old. ###

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Sports Fest at Marillac Hills

Every summer, Marillac Hills is conducting sports fest to showcase their strength and ability in different athletic activities. The sports fest was held last April 22 to May 30, 2019. To formally open the activity, a parade was actively initiated by the teams who participated on the activity. Said parade started from Marillac Hills to Haven for Women.

Twenty-five residents participated in the activity. They were divided into five (5) teams. Ms. Bayrante, the Social Welfare Officer II of Marillac Hills gave her opening remarks and shared the true spirit of sports fest which includes cooperation, building teamwork and relationships and most especially, sportsmanship and self-empowerment.

The games they participated which enhanced and built the confidence, strength and communication of the residents includes; Thug of War, Chess, Centipede, 50 and 100 meters dash, limbo rock, softball, water relay, long jump, obstacle course relay and a few Larong PInoy such as Patintero, Luksong Tinik, and Tumbang preso. To add little excitement, a cheering completion was also performed.

The culminating activity was held on the 30th day of May 2019 at Marillac Hills covered court. The awarding of the winning teams was considered as the highlight of this momentous activity. The 2019 Sports Fest had been a fun-filled activity which truly lived up to its theme, the spirit of sportsmanship, camaraderie and athleticism shown by the residents of the center.

Marillac Hills is a residential care facility that caters young girls ages 7-17 years old who are victims of abuse. ###

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A Motherly Love

Rhaica as a proud “parent” to her younger sibling

Remerico Javier Fuentes Jr. “Rhaica”, the protagonist in our story is 29 years old a fitness instructor and the youngest among the seven (7) children of Mr. Santiago Agpoon Tadeo and Mrs. Marites Javier Fuentes. Rhaica acts as the guardian of her younger siblings namely; Mhyco, Marco and Rico since the death of their parents. She also took full custody of her abandoned nephew, Gian. As the family’s guardian, she attends the monthly Family Development Sessions and ensures the compliance of her siblings with the education conditionality.

She was five (5) years old when her father died. Consequently, when she reached the age of 14, she sacrificed her education. She was forced to stop and finished only 1st year High school to help their mother who was then a solo parent. It was one of the biggest sacrifices she did for her family. She worked as helper in the market.

“Nag-iigib po ako ng tubig, naghugas ng malalaki at mabibigat na banyera sa isdaan, nagbuhat at nagtulak ng mga kariton sa groceries store,” said Rhaica.

She endured all of these to be able to buy diapers and milk for her little siblings and to augment to their daily necessities.

Her mother passed away when she was 27. Her death definitely brought impact to the family which resulted to tremendous pressure on her shoulder especially rearing the burden of raising her younger siblings.

“Walang anumang magandang salita ang makakahupa sa sakit ng aming dibdib. Maraming katanungan kung bakit? Kakayanin ko bang gampanan ang gawain ng nanay namin? Anong isasagot ko sa mga kapatid ko na noon ay wala pang kamuwang-muwang?” questioned Rhaica.

With the Lord’s guidance, with the support of some relatives and of course, through the cash grants they received from Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, they were able to face and survive their predicaments. “Mas lalo po kaming naging matapang sa mga hamon ng buhay, mas pinahahalagahan ng mga kapatid ko ang kanilang pag-aaral,” added Rhaica.

She has been very vocal on the significance of the Program’s cash grants in sending her siblings to school. It helps a lot in their daily allowances, miscellaneous fees and school projects. According to Rhaica’s parent leader, she is very strict when it comes to nutrition of her siblings.

“Hindi po niya basta-basta pinapakain ang mga kapatid niya mam, siguro dahil Fitness Instructor siya, sinisiguro niya po na masustansya ang mga pinapakain nya sa kanila”. She never falls short in guiding and teaching her siblings lessons she gathered in life.

“Minsan po sa kaka-pangaral sa mga kapatid ko, nagkakatampuhan kami, nasasaktan man ang damdamin nila minsan pero salamat sa Diyos, natututo po sila at nakikita ko na lumalaki silang mabubuting tao at may takot sa Diyos,” attested by her Parent Leader. She was able to provide the needs of his siblings, financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

She is raising her family by using her talent in dancing as a Fitness Instructor. Aside from being a fitness instructor, she is also the Head Facilitator of The Riverside Youth Organization and Share Eat, an organization built in December 2014 by Rhaica and his friends who are also Pantawid Pamilya members in Barangay Pineda, Pasig City. They call him “Ate” in their organization. The group aims to feed the mind, body and soul of the children of Barangay Pineda through feeding program, zumba exercise and teaching the words of God.

She might be unfortunate for not being able to finish her studies but looking on the brighter side, a far-more worthwhile blessing – seeing her siblings achieve their dreams. It also brings her close to her passion which is dancing. She continuously develops her potentials in dancing which she considers a God-given talent. As a Fitness Instructor, she creates an impact in the health and lifestyle of the fitness groups she serves not only in Barangay Pineda but also in nearby Barangays such as San Antonio and Kapitolyo. She uses her talent to earn a living and raise her siblings along with the support they are receiving from Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. She continuously fulfills the empty roles in the family. She might not be the perfect fit each and every role but one thing is for sure, she will continue to give it all for her family.

“Hinding-hindi hadlang ang anumang pagsubok sa buhay para makamit at pagsumikapan ang iyong mga pangarap,” pronounced Rhaica. ###

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Haven for Children joins the Annual Capoiera Youth Encounter

Haven for Children together with the selected residents of Marillac Hills, Nayon ng Kabataan and children from San Andres Bukid joined the Annual Capoeira Youth Encounter held last May 1, 2019 at Marillac Hills Covered Court.

Capoiera Anglola is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance and music. It was created in Brazil mainly by descendants of African slaves with Brazilian native influences. It is known by quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for leg sweeps.

Ms. Juvy Mae Navarro, Social Welfare Officer II of the Program Management Bureau of DSWD gave her speech of appreciation to all those who participated and made everything possible for the children. She also shared how Angola has helped in the rehabilitation and development of the residents through joining the team since 2017.

The Associate Secretary of Brazil actively participated in the activity wherein she shared insights on how Filipinos portray and interpret Brazilian culture which made both group understand and respect each other. She wanted the Filipinos to love and also embrace their culture.

Mr. Mestre Roxinho, founder of Project Bantu was one of the speakers during the activity. He visited the children and students from the centers who are involved in performing Capoiera Angola. He even thanked the DSWD for the continuous support on the Project Bantu. He hoped for the continuing progress of the Capoiera Angola in the Philippines.

After the heart-warming speech from all the visitors and sponsors, selected residents of Marillac Hills and Haven for Children recited their own constructed poem depicting how Capoiera Angola has helped them to become better persons.

Before the activity ends, Mr. Roxinho and Mr. Jaime gave their demonstration of the dance together with the teachers of Capoiera, Treinel Tucano and Treinel George who taught the children new moves and songs which inspire the residents.

Capoiera Angola taught the children to move on their own pace and go outside their comfort zone which will lead them to become better persons and gain new experiences that soon can help them on living outside the institution.

Haven for Children is a temporary shelter to provide healing and empowerment to former street children. ###

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The Road to Sustainability

“Often when you think you are at the end of something, you are actually at the beginning of something else.”- Fred Rogers

In partnership with SM Foundation, Macondray and Veterans memorial Medical Center, the Department of Social Welfare and Development – National Capital Region, through Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program successfully honed a new batch of Urban Farmers in Quezon City.

On April 30, 2019 a total of 89 Pantawid Pamilya members were recognized as Urban Gardeners through the Graduation Ceremony of the Urban Gardening Program, “Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Urban Gardeners Training Program” Batch 192. The program participants were able to gain knowledge on effective gardening and small scale farming of vegetables all throughout the 13 week – long training. They were also able to formulate a sustainability plan which includes their objectives and plans after the training.

Mr. Don Edward Vijandre, Manager of SM North EDSA graced the opening of graduation ceremony. An audio-visual presentation of the program participants’ journey towards sustainability was the presented. Ms. Raquel Avecilla, Area Coordinator of Pantawid Pamilya Operations Office 4, together with Christie Angeles, Vice-President of SM Foundation led the awarding of certificates to program participants. A vertical farming and small scale gardening starter kit was also given to the graduates. Also, selected participants and stakeholders shared their messages.

Ms. Avecilla on her closing message encouraged the Pantawid Pamilyang participants to apply their learning to their everyday lives – plant their own vegetables instead of buying one in the market, start to generate additional income for their families, live a healthy life and lastly open their road to sustainability. ###

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