“Hindi hadlang ang kapansan para hindi lumaban sa hamon ng buhay, sapagkat ito ay ipinagkaloob sa akin ng Panginoon upang magsilbing aking inspirasyon sa pagkamit ng tagumpay (Having a disability is not a hindrance to not fight the challenges of life, because it is from God that I use as an inspiration to succeed),” Jane Pahitong firmly believes.

Jane, 48 years old, is a person living with Orthopedic Impairment from Barangay Fatima, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur and a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

“Tatlong taong gulang ako nang nagkaroon ako ng polio. Sa mga panahong iyon naalala ko pa nang nawalan ng pakiramdam ang aking mga paa na siyang dahilan para hindi ako makalakad, makatakbo, at makapaglarong muli kasama ang aking mga kaibigan (I was three years old back then when I suffered from polio. During those times, I still remember when I totally lost my sensation on my both legs that caused me not to walk, run, and play with my friends again),” shared Jane.

Jane sews orders for her clients.

Because of her situation and the life status of her family, Jane could not continue her education. She faced judgment and discrimination from other people over the past years and went through difficulties in life causing her to almost lose hope in making her life worthwhile, not until opportunities started to come along that turned her life around.

She joined a one-week dressmaking training of the the Vigan City Skills Training Institute (VSTI) offered by the Local Government of Vigan City, Ilocos Sur that provides and develops skills and competencies for their constituents to improve their quality of life.

After gaining knowledge and skills, she started to accept projects from her clients. She was able to help her husband who is also a person with disability and works at Tahanan ng Walang Hagdan in Cainta as a medicine re-packer to provide for the needs of their family, especially for the education of their child.

“Malaking tulong ang training na iyon para sa akin at sa mga katulad kong gustong makatulong sa pamilya sa kabila ng ng aming kapansanan (The training helped me a lot and those like me who want to help their family despite their disability),” Jane said.

In 2020, Jane faced another challenge in her life – the COVID-19 pandemic. Her sewing service’s income went down and her sewing machine was damaged. Also, her husband could not send money because of the restrictions during the community quarantines.

Jane showing the finished product of her sewing services.

“Sobrang naapektuhan ako at ang aking asawa noon dahil sa pandemya at hindi ko alam kung saan ako kukuha ng pantustos para sa aking anak dahil sa sunod-sunod na problemang nangyari sa amin. Mabuti na lamang at tinulungan ako ng aking kapatid (My husband and I were really affected a lot and I do not know where I could find money to meet the needs of my child because of the series of problems that occurred during the pandemic. Fortunately, my sibling was there to help me),” Jane illustrated her pandemic experience. Despite the challenges, Jane remains resilient for her family.

The DSWD Field Office 1 – Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) helped Jane’s enterprise recover through the SLP – Livelihood Assistance Grant (LAG). She utilized the grant for the repair of her sewing machine and purchase materials for her business. She can now accept projects again.

“Maraming salamat sa DSWD FO 1 – SLP sa oportunidad na ito. Kung wala ang tulong na ito, hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko para makabangon muli (Thank you so much to DSWD – SLP for this opportunity. Without this aid, I do not know how I will be able to rise above my situation again),” Jane gratefully said.

Jane speaks of empowerment despite her disability. She maximized the opportunities from their LGU and DSWD FO 1 – SLP to her advantage and to be an effective and productive citizen. She did not let her situation define what she can do and pursued her passion – to help her family. (by: John Chris B. Zureta, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)