Living a life while having a disability in your senior years is not as easy as you might think. It takes so much positivity and acceptance within yourself to move forward. This is how Merly Aguda combats her everyday life with her small business.

Just before sunrise, Merly’s daily routine starts with preparing the sticky and famous pinoy breakfast, puto and kutsinta. She is a senior citizen, with a disability who is unable to walk properly. She is living in Brgy. Libsong, Sta. Maria, Pangasinan.

“Madaling-araw palang sinisimulan ko nang magluto para makapaglako ako bago magising at mag-agahan ang aking mga kapit-bahay (I start cooking early in the morning so I could sell before my neighbors wake up and have their breakfast)” she narrated.

Merly prepares her delicious puto and kutsina.

After preparing her products, she walks around their Barangay and nearby Barangays offering her homemade kakanin. She’s not bothered by her age and her disability as she is enjoying and determined to sell out her products until 9:00 AM.

“Kahit ganito ang kalagayan ko masaya akong naglalako dahil para sa pamilya ko ang aking ginagawa at para na rin akong nag-eehersisyo (Despite my situation, I’m happy with my business because I’m doing this for my family, and I also see this as an opportunity to exercise)” Merly cheerfully shared.

In 2020, she received Seed Capital Fund (SCF) worth PhP10,000.00 from DSWD Field Office 1-Sustainable Livelihood Program (DSWD FO1-SLP). 

“Dahil po sa natanggap ko na negosyong pampuhunan mas napabuti ko pa ang aking negosyo, nakabili ako ng mga gamit pangluto at rekado para sa aking mga produkto (Because of the capital I received, I have improved my business, I bought cookwares and ingredients for my products)” Merly stated.

Merly on her way to her neighborhood to sell kakanin

“Maraming salamat sa DSWD FO1-SLP dahil dito tuloy-tuloy ang takbo ng aking negosyo kahit nagkaroon ng pandemya. Nakabili na rin ako ng aalagaang baboy bilang dagdag kita. Nakakapagbayad na rin kami ng kuryente at tubig (Thank you DSWD FO1-SLP, because of this my business still continues despite pandemic. I was also able to buy a pig as another source of income. We are also able to pay our monthly bills because of this)” she shared.  

Showing gratitude for everything regardless of her life situation, staying true to her business, loving what she is doing, and the assistance for SLP are what Merly has used to capacitate herself and continuously thrive in her enterprise. (by John Chris B. Zureta, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)