Raising children alone is a huge challenge in all aspects and this is what Jocelyn Pacure, a widow with four children, endured, until she became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
When Jocelyn’s husband, Elmer, died 13 years ago, she was devastated and clueless on what to do next.
“Ang akong bana nga si Elmer nagtrabaho isip usa ka OFW sa Saudi Arabia aron makabuhi sa among pamilya labi na nga naa mi upat ka anak apan sakit kaayo ang iyang kalit nga pagtaliwan tungod sa nagka-heart attack man siya didto” (My husband, Elmer, worked as an OFW in Saudi Arabia to support our family. We have four children to raise. His sudden death, due to heart attack, was painful to bear), Jocelyn narrated.
Questions such as, “Unsa akong buhaton karon? Unsaon nako pagpadako sa akong mga anak ug ngano man Ginoo kami pa? Mao kana nga mga pangutana ang nag sige balik-balik sa akong huna-huna” (What will I do now? How will I raise my children? Why us, God? These kept on repeating on my mind, Jocelyn painfully recalled.
Despite the numerous hardships, Jocelyn tried her best to sustain the needs of her four children – Ethan Kate, the eldest; Erah Shein; Jehserf Ervich; and Eve Angel, the youngest, whose ages ranged from nine months to eight years then.
Jocelyn earned income from washing her neighbors’ clothes and from sewing and selling rags. Her daughters, Ethan Kate and Erah Shein, helped in selling rags in some small stores in their town in Liloan and in nearby Consolacion. She also cleaned other people’s houses and did other odd jobs to provide for her children’s needs.
The family is already lucky then if they could eat three times a day.
“Mohilak gyud ko sa hilom nga magtan-aw nga ang akong mga anak nitabang kanako mao nga wala ko nawad-an paglaom ug naningkamot ko nga makakita lain-laing raket” (I cried silently seeing my children trying hard to help me, and that is why I did not lose hope and found ways to earn extra income), Jocelyn explained.
It was Jocelyn’s faith in God which sustained and kept her strong, and as the years went by, she was happy seeing her children excelling in their academic and extracurricular school activities. She came to realize that despite the hardships she had to face in her life, her children have inspired her in many ways.
A big blessing
Jocelyn considered it a big blessing when their family became part of the DSWD’s 4Ps, since the program augmented the family’s income through the education and health grants they received as beneficiaries. Jocelyn was even chosen to lead the parent leaders’ group of program beneficiaries in their community.
“Isip Parent Leader nakahatag kini nako og oportunidad nga mapalambo pa ang akong kaalam ug mapaambit kini sa uban Pantawid members” (Being a parent leader provides an opportunity for me to improve my knowledge and share it with other Pantawid members), Jocelyn stated.
She also added that being a parent leader enhanced her interpersonal skill in maintaining good relationships with her fellow 4Ps beneficiaries.
In 2014, her eldest daughter, Ethan Kate, graduated from high school and went to college to pursue her dream to become a teacher. She availed of the Expanded Student Grant-in-aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA), a program implemented by DSWD and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in coordination with the state universities and colleges (SUCs), which provides scholarship opportunities for children of 4Ps beneficiaries.
Ethan Kate finished Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and passed the licensure exam for teachers in 2019. She currently teaches in a private school in their province.
Her second child is in third year college and the other two are in junior and senior high school.
“Proud kaayo ko sa akong mga anak. Gibuhat nila ang tanan aron makab-ot ang ilang mga pangandoy sa kinabuhi” (I am very proud and happy for what my children have now become. They are all doing their best to achieve their dreams), Jocelyn shared.
“Dili matapos ang akong pasalamat sa mga blessings nga nadawat nako. Bisan paman sa mga pagsulay nga akong nasugatan aron lang mapadako akong mga anak” (My gratitude to God is endless for all the blessings that I have received, despite facing the challenges I have to conquer just to raise my children), Jocelyn added.
Now that her children are all grown up, Jocelyn has more time to participate in community activities. As a purok president, Jocelyn is currently a volunteer in their community, and at the same time a cluster leader of a non-government organization.
Her children are also involved in volunteer work in their area. Jocelyn believes that this is their way of giving back and sharing with the community the blessings that God has given her family.
“Bisan kami nalang ang mag-celebrate og Pasko, amo gihapon siya gihandom nga naa ra siya permenti nga mu-guide nako ug sa among mga anak. Malipayon gihapon mi bisag dili nami kumpleto kay inubanan man namo ug pag-ampo permanente” (My children and I are the ones who celebrate Christmas, but we always remember their father, and we hope that he guides us. We are happy even if we are incomplete because we always pray to God), she added.
Jocelyn believes that it is her faith in God which helped her cope with her husband’s death and the numerous challenges of solo parenthood. It is this faith which has propelled her in inspiring her children to achieve their dreams despite the difficulties their family went through.
4Ps is a poverty reduction program implemented by the government, through DSWD which is designed to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty by investing in children’s health and education. The program caters to more than 4.3 million household-beneficiaries in 1,483 municipalities and 144 cities in 80 provinces nationwide. ###