My name is Arlene, a single parent, a mother to nine children (one is adopted). As a single parent who left an alcoholic husband when my children were young. I vowed to myself that I would do everything to give their basic needs. I washed people’s clothes and scavenge for a living. I need to go out and wash people clothes to earn money to make ends meet. Everyday regardless of the weather, I sort through garbage for plastic bottles and tin cans that can be sold at a local junk shop. If I don’t do it, my children will go to bed hungry. It was a hand to mouth life.
The crisis and drama of my life doesn’t stop here, my heart broke into million pieces when one of my son was sent to prison because of drugs. That day I almost wanted to give up, a feeling of desperation came over me that I had never felt in my life, I don’t have anything to depend on, God is my only refuge, I pray to God everyday that he touched my sons’ heart and lighten his mind to become a better person. After two weeks in prison, he changed. Being in prison has allowed him to feel freer than he has in a very long time. He is clear-headed and focused. He has the courage to face what is ahead of him and the belief that there is a path of growth and recovery for him. He accepts full responsibility for the circumstances. Now he is serving as a helper in a Ministerial place in Bago City. I continue to pray for him, for his well-being and that he continually finds and stays on his path to recovery.
My son was one of the beneficiaries of the DOLE’s DILEEP Program (DOLE’s Intergrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program) under the Kabuhayan Program which is the Emergency Employment Program (EEP) or the Tulong Panghanapbuhay Sa Ating Disadvantage/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) providing him a pedicab for a livelihood project. With 500 pesos in my hand I used this as my start-up capital and used the pedicab as my mobile store. With my hard work and perseverance my mobile store eventually grew to include selling candies, cigarettes, bottled water, soft drinks, snacks and much more. This changed our life a lot. I am now able to generate a better income being able to survive on our day-to-day needs. Now you can see me all day along the sidewalk of Silay Public Plaza across from San Diego Parish Church.
As a human being, we need to feel challenges. We need to feel that we have accomplished something and the only way to feel as if you have accomplished something is by having to struggle to get there. Without struggle, life wouldn’t be worth living. Hope my story’s inspire’s you. Merry Christmas and God Bless.