For six years now, she is seen untiringly standing at the doorway of Robinsons Mall Ilocos. She has a knack for making the shoppers feel safe as they open the door and walk in, and greets them with a simple “Good morning, Ma’am” or “Good morning, Sir” accompanied by a warm sincere smile.

But behind the smile she displays to every individual she encounters are the problems in her family that occasionally bother her. “Nahihirapan ako minsang ipaintindi sa aking pamilya kung bakit hindi ako nakakapagbigay ng oras sa kanila gawa ng aking trabaho (I sometimes have a hard time explaining to my family why I can’t spend much time with them because of my job),” she confessed. 

Connie sharing her story and how SLP helped her achieve what she has right now

She is Connie S. Ronduen, a mother of a Senior High School graduating son, residing in Camanding, City of Batac, Ilocos Norte. She may be facing tough days in her job, but she is beyond grateful for what she’s doing. Her profession enables her to send her son to school and continuously serve even during the pandemic. “Kailangan kong magsakripisiyo para sa kanila dahil ang laking tulong ng trabahong ito sa aking pamilya lalo na noong pandemiya (I need to sacrifice for them because this job helped my family a lot especially during pandemic),” Connie uttered.

Looking back, her family’s daily living depended on crop harvesting which only earned around PhP150 – below minimum wage. They barely provided the basic needs of their household. “Hindi araw-araw ay may trabaho kami kaya ang hirap mabuhay kung wala kang permanenteng pinagkakakitaan (We don’t make a living every day, and it’s difficult to survive without a steady source of income),” Connie reminisced.

Connie starting her day to guard in Robinsons Mall Ilocos Norte

In 2016, a door of opportunity opened for her. She attended the Pre-Licensing Training Course for Security Guard and received Pre-Employment Assistance Fund (PEAF) from DSWD Field Office 1 – Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) upon her employment as Security Guard at 3rd Alert Security Agency in 2017. “Sobrang natutuwa talaga ako noon dahil sa wakas may permanente na akong trabaho (I am glad that I finally have a permanent job),” she happily shared.

She is now focusing on saving up her salary and planning to set up a small business to fulfill the dream of her son – to become a policeman. “Dahil natupad ko na ang pangarap kong magkatrabaho, pangarap ng anak ko naman ngayon ang tutuparin ko (Now that my wish of having a job has been realized, next to be fulfilled is my son’s ambition),” she added.

“Maraming salamat po sa tiwalang ibinigay sa akin ng DSWD FO 1 – SLP, kung wala ang pagkakataong ito na matulungan ninyo akong makahanap ng trabaho ay hindi ko kakayaning mapag-aral ang anak ko (Thank you DSWD FO 1 – SLP for trusting me, without this opportunity, I won’t be able to send my son to school),” Connie emotionally uttered.

Through SLP, Connie uplifted her socioeconomic capability through employment facilitation. The program assisted her to acquire the necessary skills and assets to help her thrive and secure the future of her family. (by: John Chris B. Zureta, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)