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Empowered Citizens

Empowered Citizens moving out from the shackles of poverty in the countryside Jasmin P. Kiaso Juna is just one of many Filipinos who lacked opportunities but after being provided with one, it has created a ripple effect to her family and to her community. From being a timid and typical housewife, Juna proved that with pure effort anyone can turn into a versatile and resilient person ready to change her life and to her community. KALAHISerye 2016|| 25

R emember that story told by your catechist or parents about a prophet who was swallowed by a huge fish for three days and three nights before being thrown on a dry land? His name was Jonah. But here’s a modern Jonah story who wasn’t literally swallowed by a shark instead she was nearly enslaved by poverty. She’s a young woman, a wife and a mother to five children and she broke away from the shackles of poverty. Juna Sanggoy belong to the Kankana-ey tribe of Kapangan, Benguet. Now at age 35, she tried to look back on her rocky beginnings as a member of this ever-challenging society. She did not dream of improving her life as she didn’t even know that she is living a life below poverty line until just a couple of years ago. “I’m regretful that I didn’t care to learn about a lot of things,” she began. Admittedly, she wasn’t able to learn skills which could be her passport in raising a family. For years “I was a plain housewife who barely helps my husband Benjamin in our sayote farm,” she continued. A high school undergraduate who got married at age 15, she now admits to having lack of knowledge and skills on family rearing and much more on skills to help provide for her family. As her family grows, “financial challenges began to build up one by one as my children started going to school,” she said. I can’t help notice the frustration in her voice as she talks about getting angry when her children ask for allowance before they go to school. “Most of the time, I just get angry to cover up my embarrassment that I can’t provide them proper allowance,” she exclaimed. KALAHISerye 2016|| 26

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