“We choose not to place DIS in our ABILITIES.”

An igniting and inspiring slogan of the (35) members of the Persons with Disability Bucas Grande Sustainable Livelihood Association (PWD BugSuLA) in a close-knitted community in Socorro, Surigao del Norte. A group of men and women who braved their disability with courage and passion.

DREAM COME TRUE. The proud program participants of PWD BugSuLA during the opening of their Agrivet and Fishing Supplies.

Through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the group is now venturing into Agrivet and Fishing Supplies business. With fishing as the main source of livelihood, the group agreed to put up the said business. This is also en route to an easier access than picking up much money from their own pockets just to grab their fishing essentials.

Pushing through despite discrimination and barriers, the group work hand in hand to successfully open the business to the community on the 8th day of May 2017. With an unstoppable yearning to learn, the group underwent skills trainings on store management and merchandising through SLP in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry last March 2017.

One of the members who defied what most would consider an unbearable sentence is Melyn Ape, a mother of two and an active member of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Others may see disability as a limitation. However, Melyn sees this as an opportunity.

RESILIENT. Melyn Ape, a proud and grateful member of PWD BugSuLA and also works as a cashier/storekeeper in their Agrivet and Fishing Supplies project.

Despite having an orthopedic disability, Melyn works tirelessly at the shop from 6:00 am – 8:00 pm as a storekeeper and cashier to make ends meet for her family and send her children to school. She is also in-charge of making the sales reports. As an honorarium, she is paid Php3,500 a month.

Yet it was not all difficult for Melyn to learn work skills because her interest and inclination to work was becoming evident early on.

“With Ate Melyn’s impressive work ethics, she plays an important part of the process in their project,” shared by Stephen John Pulido, the assigned Field Implementer.

“She does her work efficiently and the customers love her because of her excellent service,” he added.

Even though she encounters hardships as a PWD, she does not allow those to limit what she can do for a living.

For Melyn, the opportunity to work was her chance to prove that she can do more than the limitations other people have set for her.

Gusto ko magtrabaho kay gusto ko makatabang sa akong pamilya ug tungod ani nabuhian ko ug paglaum na makatrabaho utro ( I want to work so that I could help my family and because of this I was encouraged when I learned I will be able to work),” Melyn proudly shared.

“Usa ko ka-PWD pero dili mahimong babag sa akoang kinabuhi nga molambo (I am a PWD but this is not a hindrance that I will succeed in life),” she added.

Like many others, it is hard for her to find work because of her disability. Prior to her storekeeper/cashier stint, Melyn tried her hand in all sorts of livelihood sources available in her community just to suffice the needs of her family.

PERSEVERANCE. Melyn Ape says she doesn’t say no to any task because she has her family on mind.

Mao ng dako akong pasalamat sa programa ug sa ako mga kauban na gihatag na oportunidad sa akoa kay dako kayo ni ug tabang labi na sa akong pamilya (That’s why I am greatly grateful to the program and to my co-program participants for the opportunity because it will help a lot especially for my family),” Melyn concluded. ###(MARY CARMELLE C. JUMAWAN/Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)