LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines—Loreta Perez, 55, enthusiastically rubbed the meat with curing salt as she, along with her neighbors, prepared kilos of ham for the smoking phase.
She manifests excitement as she knows it is an opportunity to earn extra money this Christmas season.
Perez is among the trainees of the Rotary Club Los Baños Makiling Chapter in its livelihood program. The trainees are residents of the Gawad Kalinga village in Barangay (village) Putho-Tuntungin. Most of them are housewives.
Perez, a mother to 10 children, tells the Inquirer that she is really glad that certain groups like the Rotary Club are reaching out to indigent families like them.
“I had no definite source of income before their help came in. My husband and I would just depend on our son who worked as a janitor in a hospital,” Perez says in Filipino.
Now, she also runs a sari-sari store inside the GK village. She borrowed P2,000 from the Rotary Club Los Baños Makiling Chapter, which she uses as capital for her small business.
Rotary Club Los Baños Makiling Chapter president Elisa Ronan says their group is opening opportunities to the needy families like those inside the GK village to start a better life.
“We don’t believe in doleouts so we decided to help them acquire skills they can apply to make a living,” she says.
The training on ham making started in October with about 20 trainees in preparation for the Christmas season.
Even before the hams are made by the trainees, a sorority based in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) has already been tapped to purchase the products.
The hams will be included in the Christmas baskets the sorority will give away to the families living in the GK village.
Iluminada Gomez, former product development officer of the UPLB Dairy Training and Research Institute and a Rotary Club member, provided the training on ham making.
Ronan says they are still thinking of other livelihood means to help the residents. From the P50,000 seed money that her group got from Rotary Club Makati, the money has grown to help more families in Los Baños town.
Some victims of Tropical Storm “Ondoy” have been helped by the group through some livelihood programs.
“We offer a lending program in which the beneficiaries can borrow money at a very minimal interest. They can use the amount to start up a small business,” Ronan says, adding that “while Gawad Kalinga helps the residents acquire a decent shelter, our group wants each family inside the village to have sustainable sources of income.”