In July 2008, I traveled to my hometown to meet the mayor to plan out an enterprise project for women. Barugo is a quaint town in Leyte , Philippines. The two-hour trip evoked childhood memories with my mother, Anastacia. Every summer, she would bake native cookies called “roscas” with the assistance of lady friends then pack them in 50s and 100s in brown paper bags and big tin cans. We sold them during fiestas. She was a single mother, a daughter of a Catholic priest, was orphaned at 7 and was adopted by an aunt. She single-handedly and bravely reared me. My childhood ended on the fateful day of July 22 when my mom died at a young age of 30. I lost my friend, my mentor, my role model, and my mother. I was 10.
For forty years after my mother drowned in the river, I could feel her spirit guiding and cheering me on. I found myself eager to pursue her passions. I dedicated twenty (20) years + of my productive life managing a local NGO . I found my voice when we organized community-based groups to address VAWC ; when we prodded the police, social& health workers to be sensitive to the needs of women survivors. Together with women leaders from the different parts of the country , we sought reforms in the laws, pushed for pro-poor and gender responsive projects and budgets. I found fulfillment in our Empowering Girls that built life skills of about 500 young girls from 19 villages to enable them shape their own future. I enjoyed mobilizing resources to support the education of thirty (30) school age girls from very poor families.
I used my skills to train LGUs in formulating gender responsive plans and budgets and advocating for civil society participation in governance.
And on July 12, 2008, on my 47th birthday, I found myself walking the path of my mother Anastacia to sell my “roscas “dreams with the women micro entrepreneurs. Since then, life was never the same again, for me, the roscas producers and the LGU.
My personal advocacy for peaceful homes and communities expanded to include women economic empowerment. I travel to villages and enjoy meeting people, women in particular . I blog about what I see and feel and posted it on World Pulse. I am happy to get encouraging comments from sisters around the world.
I wish to become a better writer so I can report more from the frontlines. I wish to relate with sisters around the globe to share solutions to stop the vicious cycle of poverty, violence, helplessness and gender inequality. I will continue to weave my dreams for a just and peaceful communities with positive and solutions oriented people. Let the journey continue.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision.