Forty two-year old Elvira Agsaullo, a mother of five is among the Pantawid Pamilya Parent Leaders being praised for her passion and dedication to her co-beneficiaries in a Kankanaey tribe of Nagyubuyuban, City of San Fernando, La Union.
Pursuing education the hard way
Waking up at 4:00 AM, Elvira’s children start to prepare for school. With patience and perseverance, the children endure the 1 1/2 hour walk passing through large creeks and mountain slopes. They untiringly attend classes because they are dreaming of a better life.
Finishing high school, Elvira has no other dreams than seeing her children finish their studies to have a different fate.
Seasonally, their income comes from planting taro and by regularly producing soft brooms earning P600/week from 60 pieces made. Their cash grants helped the family provide the children’s necessities particularly school needs, fees and improved food intake.
In the olden days, people in the area does not give much importance to education. They can live without it, but now they are encouraging the youth to study.
Now, they have appreciated its value for their children’s future. Thus, education, is the only treasure Elvira can give to her children.
In the conduct of Family Development Sessions (FDS), Elvira said that she learned a lot of information and new learnings shared to her family. Some of these are on disaster preparedness, family’s health needs, parents’ roles and children’s rights.
Because of the FDS, the family learned to practice eating dinner together, an activity they seldom do, eventually making it an avenue for family bonding. More importantly, Elvira became more confident in dealing with people as she has also observed with majority of her co-beneficiaries.
Being one of the area’s Parent Leaders, Elvira said that one must have to extend her patience in understanding her co members. Some of the beneficiaries are hard to deal with however Elvira said that “siyak ti tinalek da isu nga anus lang” (They trusted me. I need to extend my patience for them. ). According to Elvira, it is patience and respect for others along with love in what you do that makes her continue.
She noticed that the FDS and her efforts are bearing good results. Most of her co – beneficiaries became active in participating in the sessions. They had improved confidence in blending with people including the improvement in wearing clothes and maintaining good hygiene. These are complete opposite of who they are before the coming of Pantawid Pamilya.
Naturally hard-working, people in the area does not prioritize socializing however with the FDS they are now given the confidence and opportunity to meet and mingle with people.
Even without financial remuneration, Elvira considers the cash grants as her incentive in doing PL works. She said, “Narigat ti ag PL, sika ti bantay ngem naragsak ti makatulong .” (Being a Parent Leader is challenging. You’ll look after them however helping them is a fulfillment.
Elvira was even lured to run for a Barangay post however she declined saying that she can still help others without running for public office.
On the other hand, Elvira enjoys the responsibility because she is able to interact with everyone. An opportunity she is not previously used of.
After five years, Elvira hopes that they will no longer be in their current poverty situation. Instead she expects an improved way of life through their continuous practice on the learned positive activities brought about by the program.
by: Allan O. Lulu / Information Officer II, Pantawid Pamilya