New Hope for Sugarcane Farm Workers in the Philippines

“If I didn’t get the ABK3 loan, I won’t be able to sell pigs to support the education of my three children. It’s a small amount but it helps a lot. This gives me the challenge to be more productive in life”, shared 44-year old Rita.

 

Before Rita got the loan from ABK3, she used to work in the sugarcane farm. She earns 80 PhP for a day’s labor under the scorching heat of the sun using tools to cut weeds between cane plants. Her children have no choice but to help her work in the farm. She gives them 10 pesos as consolation for their hard work.

 

As a mother, this was not easy for Rita to see her children working in the farm instead of letting them spend more time on their studies. Rita’s husband, Ganny, got sick from hauling and loading sugarcane in the trucks. Rita earns an additional income through selling sweet potato candy. But it’s not enough.

 

One day, Rita’s family was chosen as one of the households assisted by ABK3 LEAP through World Vision. She is happy that her children were given school supplies and school uniforms. Aside from that, awareness-raising activities are also conducted in the community so that parents like her are made aware about child labor and the hazards and impacts of hazardous work to children. They were also taught financial literacy for them to manage well their money through savings and grow their livelihoods.

 

Through Community Economic Ventures, Inc. (CEVI), the microfinance partner of ABK3 LEAP, household beneficiaries like Rita’s family are provided with loans to start small scale enterprises. Rita was able to avail a loan worth 5,000 Php with only 1.5 percent interest per month. Rita used her loan for hog raising business.

 

“At first I was hesitant to get a loan. As part of ABK3 LEAP project, I was encouraged to give it a try. And I didn’t regret it,” confessed Rita. She bought a sow and feeds. It gives birth to more pigs. Whenever her children need finances for school, Rita sells her full grown pig to 7,000 PhP. Rita now has more than 20 pigs. She has repaid her three previous loan cycles and now she’s getting another.

 

Rita’s eldest child is in college, Charity, taking up Accountancy. The other two, Christian and Lemuel, are in high school and want to become an engineer and math teacher, respectively. Rita’s children like math subjects.

 

“I always remind my children every day to study hard because that’s the only thing I can give to them. I’d like my children to have a better job than me. I’d like them to know that even though life is difficult, I want them to finish their schooling,” Rita said.

 

Right now, Rita is happy that her children can spend more time in studying and not working anymore in the sugarcane farms.