The Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) supports women through livelihood programs.

In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 18,547 women became beneficiaries of the Sustainable Livelihood Program.

Irene Antenero is back in her work area after she received the Livelihood Assistance Grant (LAG).

“When I became an association’s member, it gave me a chance to earn on my own and to provide for the needs of my family,” said Valentina Razola, a member of the Barangay Biga Women Workers Association of Biga, Toledo City, Cebu.

Valentina is one of the members of the association run by women. She manages her time well as a worker and a provider for her family.  Valentina stands as the head of the family since her husband, a construction worker, was forced to stop working due to community lockdown.

As COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, Valentina, along with the other members of the association, worked and served their community through their business – a business funded by SLP.

Irene Antenero, a mat weaver in San Francisco, Cebu, shared that mat weaving is a laborious job. It takes a lot of effort to do one mat, and the profit was just enough. The price of the regular size mat is P100, the double size mat, P150. These mats are also brought and sold in Danao City. Irene and her husband have been in this business for 15 years, but the pandemic has affected them, making it more difficult for their business to sustain.

“Our life was hard. We just took crops from our backyard like camote tops or banana plantains and sell them to our neighbors to make money.  It was hard earning a living during the pandemic. Orders for our native mats are scarce.  We need to improvise to survive,” narrated Irene.

Irene is one of the beneficiaries of the Livelihood Assistance grant (LAG), who received P5,000 cash assistance from SLP. She expressed that she will use the money to buy materials. “It is a relief I now have the money to buy materials for the mats. Even if we were still in community quarantine, I continued weaving mats so that, when the situation would normalize and the quarantine lifted, I already have stocks of mats to sell,” shared Irene in dialect.

As a member and worker of Barangay Biga Women Workers Association, Valentina does her work assignment in their egg-laying business.

Irene and Valentina are just a few of the women who benefitted from the program and were thankful for the assistance given to them and their families.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program continues to inspire women to stand up for themselves and for the people who depend on them. ###

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