Hindi man matatag ang aking mga paa, meron naman akong matatag na puso. Sapat na iyon para maitaguyod ko ang aking pamilya (Even if my feet are weak, I have a strong heart. That’s enough to support my family).”

Rosemarie dela Cruz, a 41-year old orthopedically challenged mother from Urdaneta City, never considers her mobility restriction as a hindrance in providing for her family.

She is a widow with three kids. Her husband who also had a disability died four years ago due to heart and lung failure. As a single parent, she manages to send her children to school by making and selling bags, keychains, wallets, and home decorations made from beads. She also provides home service massage within Urdaneta City to augment her income from selling handicrafts.

Her eldest just graduated Bachelor of Science in Accountancy while her twins are in Grade 7. To further widen her skills, she reached out to the Area 1 Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC 1) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) to enroll in dressmaking and tailoring. AVRC 1 provides program and services for persons with disability to achieve highest level of physical, mental, social, and economic self-sufficiency through which they become capable within the bounds of their capacity and skills to lead useful and productive community lives.

The one-year training is set to commence in October. However, it was put on hold due to the pandemic. While waiting for the training to resume, she sews curtain holders and makes bead products at home.

Seeing her skills and her positive attitude towards work and life, the AVRC 1 later referred her and six more AVRC 1 clients to the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department for possible livelihood intervention. After assessment and validation, she was eligible to participate in the Microenterprise Development (MD) track of SLP through which she received PhP14,000.00. The cash assistance was used in buying a sewing machine, textiles, and other materials for curtain making.

MD Track of SLP aims to assist individuals and associations in starting-up, rehabilitating, or expanding the beneficiaries’ chosen livelihood. Qualified program beneficiaries may receive cash assistance not exceeding PhP15,000.00 based on their proposed projects.

In 2019, 15 AVRC 1 clients received livelihood assistance from SLP. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)