My name is Epifania Parado, 60 years old, and an ADRA community partner from Brgy. Cambahanon, Alang-Alang, Leyte. I am a widow living on my own. Sometimes, I get support from my children.
In 2013, we lost our home and our rice farm to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. The aftermath of the typhoon was unimaginable — worse than what we expected it to be. As everyone else, my family had to go back to scratch.
I lost my husband 22 years ago. Meanwhile, I worked as a housemaid in Manila for more than 10 years before returning to Leyte in 2013. I wanted to go back to the big city to work so that we can have money, but I could not bear being away from my family especially after almost losing our lives to that great calamity. Also, there were no longer opportunities for me there. So I stayed despite having inadequate income.
Our life after the typhoon was very difficult; there was scarcity food as well as opportunity to earn money, especially for us families depending on farming. Waiting for another cropping season without any alternative source of income was truly difficult times.
And because I am a senior citizen, I no longer endure laborious farming activities. For food, I relied on relief goods handed out by the government. For money, I depended on loan support from family relatives. I had no capacity at all to provide for my own basic needs.
Farmers in our barangay always wanted to have an alternative livelihood in addition to their existing rice farming activities. However, they don’t have the financial capital to start one since most of their income is used as capitalization for inputs and payments for loans. This results to farmers becoming financially incapable and with no “financial freedom” to support sufficiently for their basic needs such as food, medicine and even for the construction of their water connection.
Cash Grant Support
At first, I thought that ADRA’s Cash Grant Support would only cover capitalization for farm inputs. I’m happy that through ADRA’s business planning workshops, we were able to identify best alternative livelihoods to rice farming and other income-generating activities that would supply the demand of the consumers while waiting for another rice cropping season.
I chose setting up a Mini-Market for my business proposal because when I was young, I helped my family earn a living by selling rice cakes and vegetables in the market. As a senior citizen, I no longer have the energy to do other rigorous types of livelihood.
Moreover, I recognized the need for more stores like mine in our community especially after ADRA assisted us on our market assessment through the Business Planning workshops they conducted. Those workshops helped us identify livelihoods that are feasible or in-demand in our barangay.
At present, there are no competitors with this type of business. The people in our barangay would usually go to town just to buy cooking ingredients, vegetables, condiments and other groceries. Thanks to ADRA, we were thoroughly guided on choosing what is best for our livelihood options.
I received my first tranche of the cash grant amounting to 6,000 pesos last January 24, 2017; my second tranche of 4,000 pesos was given last February 10, 2017. A total of 10,000 pesos was given by ADRA to fulfill my business proposal.
I open my store six to seven times a week. Every dawn, I go to a market wholesaler to buy goods for my store.
ADRA enhanced my enterprise capacity through the Financial Management trainings they conducted. Every day I do bookkeeping in order to know my daily balance as well as my cash in and cash out, This way I get to manage my profit.
On a daily average, I can earn between 100 to 300 pesos. From this income I allocate an amount for my food and additional capital, while I put the rest into my savings that I can use in times of emergency or rainy days.
ADRA never failed to support and guide us throughout our recovery process. Two months after I received a Cash Grant Support for my Livelihood, I was again lucky to be one of the recipients for the rain water collector. The said collector was very useful to me and for my livelihood since we don’t have adequate supply of water. This is really helpful to an old lady like me because I will no longer have to rely solely on our communal water pump, which is also being used by five other families.I can use the rainwater collector for sanitation and hygiene purposes, as well as for cleaning my vegetables and condiments that I buy from the town. Thank you ADRA! Rest assured I will treasure all the support you have given unto us. GOD bless!”