ANCE SHIFTS NEGATIVE PARADIGM
This is a true story of the women who, with the help of Action for Nurturing Children and Environment, Inc (ANCE) and its partner, SVD Austria, formed Basic Ecclesial Communities ( BEC) in the sitios of Malinao and Negative now known as Bagong Buhay.
Carreta is one of the 48 barangays in Cebu City with poor supply of potable water, pitiable sanitation, houses made from very light materials and as small as 4 square meters and comfort rooms shared by 3 or more families. The residents in Negative Barrio were mostly lepers from Eversley Leprosarium back in the early 50’s and 60’s. Most of their women are descendants of these negative hansenites. Don’t be surprised to see missing fingers, hands or arms or toes and foot.
The project, thru ANCE aims to assist the families in meeting the children’s basic needs such as education and health. This meeting of basic needs is solidified in the tenets of the Catholic Faith through the BECs. With the BEC, these women are encouraged to attend Bible sharing sessions once week to listen to the Word of God and share their faith life experiences. This weekly activity aimed to solidify their bond, reinforce their relationships and help them create a sense of trust and cooperation among them. This is important for the success of the other programs like scholarship, feeding, savings & livelihood endeavors. All these are done with their participation as to do away with the dole out system.
“The old belief of the poor is that they are poor, and it is the obligation of the rich to help them feed themselves. This is a challenge that ANCE is facing and trying to change. That they are capable of helping themselves get thru their poverty” according to Fr. Maximo Abalos, SVD, Executive Director .
Through their livelihood endeavors, the members were encouraged to pool resources to continue the savings mobilization. This was implemented with the hope that the poor will be able to move up in the financial ladder or be diverted from the skyrocketing interest from the loan sharks.
With constant encouragement and financial education, the members diligently saved a little of their earnings each week so they were able to start their rice retail business. Barely over a year in the rice retail business, the members have received their share from patronage and from dividends last October 2012. They received between 80.00 to 1,200 per member depending on their patronage and savings or capital invested. A happy Loleta Paquera said, “Kung magtibangay lang gyud diay ang mga pobre, makahaw-as ra gyud ta sa atong kalisod. Wala gyud diay ta kalimti sa Ginoo pinaagi sa ANCE.” ( When people cooperate and help each other, we will never remain poor. God did not forget us for He helped us thru ANCE) They realized that when people work together more things can be achieved. From the first capital of 6, 000 php which was loaned to them by ANCE, now they are working on a capital of 16, 000 php on a bi- monthly marketing.
Since then, they are inspired to save more and the group has opened a credit facility scheme which allows members to avail of rice worth 75% of their savings. This enlarged their business income and helped members on tight budget.
Some of them availed of loans from their own savings to start their own small food businesses in the area. This livelihood endeavor enriched their business abilities, augmented the family budget and made them independent from the loan sharks for money matters. “I am happy that my mother joined ANCE and is part of their organization. Thru her work as the retailer, our life is not that difficult anymore. Soon I will graduate from the university and we will no longer be as poor as we have been” a thankful Ethel Cambarijan said.
Now, their journey of nothingness is slowly fading as they are gaining a grasp of the financial freedom they longed for all their lives. ANCE continues with its aspiration to help them in their quest to move from nada to yada. Helping them to fish rather than to wait for fish to be given.