A mother’s love knows no bounds.
This holds true for Evalyn V. Medallo, a 46-year old “kasambahay” who is a single mother to four (4) children ages 25, 21, 19 and 17 years old.
Evalyn’s life was far from perfect. If she were to choose, she would wish for a complete family however life’s circumstances were not that kind to her. She was a victim of her husband’s abuse who was addicted to drugs. She had the courage to leave before things got even worse for her and her children.
To make ends meet, Evalyn applied as a stay-out kasambahay earning 1,500 pesos a month in her hometown, Patalon, Zamboanga City.
“I was wise about my money. I didn’t want to stay as a kasambahay for too long so I set aside a portion of my earnings to start a mini carenderia in my mother’s residence located beside the road,” Evalyn shared.
Despite the location and her skills in cooking, the income from her eatery was not enough to send her kids to school much less for their necessities such as food and utilities.
All this changed when she joined Miss KasamBESHIE 2018.
“While working as a Kasambahay, I met Ms. Juliet Tigo of National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). She’s a community organizer who advocates for the rights of the informal sector most especially the kasambahays,” Evalyn said.
Ms. Tigo sits as a regular member of the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (RTIPC) representing the workers in the informal sector.
She paved the way for Evalyn to be immersed in the interventions of the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office 9 such as advocacies to drum up awareness of the Kasambahay Law or republic Act No. 10361 and livelihood assistance under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP).
Evalyn recounted that Miss KasamBESHIE was an important part of how she received her Kabuhayan Starter Kit (KSK). More than just a pageant, the Search endeavored to educate the Kasambahay participants and their employers on the Kasambahay Law, Employees Compensation Program, Single Entry Approach as alternative method of dispute resolution, Occupational Safety and Health as well as other Statutory Benefits for Workers.
On May 5, 2018, at the glittering stage of KCC Mall de Zamboanga, Evalyn was crowned Miss KasamBESHIE 3rd Runner Up. Apart from the cash prize, sash and crown, all winners were automatic recipients of a livelihood starter kit.
The livelihood starter kits form part of the DILP which is one of DOLE’s flagship programs that opens economic opportunities to the vulnerable and marginalized workers by providing them access to grant assistance for capacity building on entrepreneurial ventures, for either individual or group undertaking.
Under the DILP, beneficiaries are provided with training on business planning, basic entrepreneurship development training, productivity and workers safety and health, and production skills.
They also receive working capital in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs and other support services as well as enrolment to group micro insurance scheme and continuing technical and business advisory services.
Evalyn and her fellow kasambahays finally received the starter kits of their choice during the pre-Anniversary activities of DOLE 9 on December 4, 2018 at KCC Mall de Zamboanga.
“I personally requested a starter kit for commercial cooking since I already have an existing carenderia. With the additional cooking materials such as gas stove, kitchen utensils, pots and frying pans, I was able to cook more and prepare various delicacies to sell,” she claimed.
On average, Evalyn earns a net income of 500 pesos per day. With the additional income, she was able to provide for her children’s needs.
In 2019, the Barangay LGU informed her that the road widening operations in Patalon will affect her carenderia. She was offered an equivalent amount based on the prescribed appraisal value after removing the structure from its location.
It was a blessing in disguise for Evalyn, for with the money she received, she built a small house and eatery adjacent to the previous location of her mother’s residence. She continued with her livelihood and even leveled it up with online selling.
Her tech-savvy daughter taught her how to use social media particularly Facebook to market her products. This development increased her income and even enabled her to purchase a motorcycle unit to be used for delivery of goods to customers and a freezer to store perishable goods.
Since then, Evalyn expanded her product line from viands to frozen goods, ready-to-wear clothing, and Filipino native delicacies She also offers delivery with a minimal fee for the convenience of her loyal customers.
“I am very delighted with the assistance that the DOLE has provided. I never imagined I would be able to open a savings account in a bank. Prior to this, the money I earn from being a Kasambahay was only enough for our daily needs.
Anyone who is a mother will agree with me when I say that we only want what’s best for our children. For them, we would do everything to ensure that they are properly fed, sent to school, and even provided with their wants from time to time. I am glad that I was able to do all of those for them even as a single mother,” Evalyn proudly said.
Looking towards a brighter future, Evalyn plans to open another carenderia branch and employ her own workers.
What I wish is for my children to have a chance at a better future so I will do my best to sustain and improve this livelihood project,” she concluded. ###