Women perform different roles in society. In this digital age, women have become more economically productive but their role in housekeeping and children raising remains a stereotype they are expected to perform. Homemaking and economic productivity are both championed by the solo parents of “Rags to Riches.” 

The Rags to Riches Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) is a group of single mothers in Pura, Tarlac who earn through sewing and selling rags, curtains, and school bags. As part of their initiatives in helping out the vulnerable sectors in their community, the local government unit initially organized the group in May 2019. The group was then given an opportunity to enhance their skills in sewing and dressmaking through the help of the Provincial Government of Tarlac.

They have the skilled workforce and target market but they lack the capital they need to start their business. Recognizing their situation, Ms. Analiza Campo, MSWDO, sought the help of Mr. Eugene Lopez, SLP Project Development Officer, for the possible inclusion of the group in the Sustainable Livelihood Program.

Fortunately, all members of the group were found eligible to receive livelihood assistance of P300,000.00 seed capital fund for their group enterprise. Their LGU also provided them with a wide and well-ventilated workspace.

They received their grants in October 2019 and purchased the needed supplies and equipment for their business. However, the enhanced community quarantine dawned on them. This forced them to suspend operations. Despite this challenge, the SLPA demonstrated their resourcefulness, resilience, and perseverance by helping their community address their needs in the time of the pandemic.

The SLPA, as a response to the limited supplies of PPEs for the frontliners and general public, decided to undertake the project of the LGU to mass-produce cloth face masks, face shields, and PPEs to be distributed in hospitals and different barangays in the municipality. 

“Nagkaroon kami ng pagkakakitaan sa panahon ng pandemic. Nakatulong ito sa amin upang aming matustusan ang aming mga pangangailangan lalo na nang aming mga anak,” says Teresa, President of the SLPA.

Even after the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine, the Rags to Riches SLPA continues to sell face masks and PPEs at affordable prices. Currently, the group earns a stable income of P10,000.00 a month, setting aside P2,000.00 for the group’s monthly savings.

These women behind the Rags to Riches SLPA proved that women can surpass great challenges (Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!). . Despite the struggles in raising their children on their own while providing for the family, these women remain strong and resolute, finding solidarity with each other and making good use of the opportunities provided to them. 

“Nang dahil sa tulong na ibinigay ng DSWD SLP sa aming mga solo parents, nagkaroon kami ng pagkukunan ng pangangailangan namin sa araw-araw. Lubos ang aming pasasalamat sa DSWD lalong lalo na sa mga kawani nito na patuloy na sumusuporta sa amin” ~Maria Teresa Andrade, Rags to Riches SLPA President

Story lead and photos by: Eugene H. Lopez, IPDO