Emmanuel Velasco lives a peaceful life in a simple nipa hut. But it wasn’t always this way. Emmanuel graduated from school in Bicol, but was forced to move to Manila to find work.
Marilyn works as one of the inspectors in our VCO production line. Prior to being employed at Dignity, her husband was the only one earning a living for their family of 6 kids. He is a fisherman but only has a fishing rod and very small boat with no motor and a leak that cannot be repaired. Because of his insufficient equipment, he cannot go far away from the shore for fear of being sunk by the waves. This leaves him with only a minimal catch, often just enough to feed his family for one day.
Meet Darius, a Dignity employee working in our Waste Disposal Unit. Before joining our team, life was hard. With a wife and 10 children at home, the income he was making from fishing and farming simply could not sustain his family’s needs. This led to large debts and high loan interest rates making it difficult to pay school fees for his kids.
Angelita is fondly called Angeline. She lives near our Community Transformation Plant in the Philippines. One of our workers invited Angeline to be a volunteer in our Community Health Education (CHE) program. She helped us bring free medical care to surrounding neighbors and villages. She admits that at the time she was addicted to gambling. However, becoming a volunteer and spending time with our staff changed her life.
Meet Jonathan, one of our security guards at Dignity's Community Transformation Plant in The Philippines. He also farms rice to supplement his income, and unfortunately feed his gambling addiction. For years, he would borrow money for his small farm, but his salary and harvest income was wasted in a cycle of debt and gambling addiction. His wife almost gave up on their marriage. In 2012, Jonathan met Jun, our Community Development Leader, who spent extended time with Jonathan and his wife Jenelyn. Since then, their lives have changed.
Gina's marriage was crumbling. Despite a good income from her husband’s job as a sailor, they had many problems at home. Their fighting was often heard by neighbors and the stress of this spilled over into how she treated her kids, often shouting at them when feeling angry. Her health was also affected causing frequent dizziness & high blood pressure.
Shirley's family was struggling to survive. Her husband, Ramir, took whatever small jobs he could get to help the family, but without land, his only options were to work helping on a rice farm or a fishing boat, where he received a small share of rice or fish. The pay was irregular and unsustainable, so he made the tough choice to look for work in Manila and send money back to Shirley and the kids (ages four, six, and eight). In exchange for this sacrifice, they received $33.50 per week. That's just not enough....
After completing the baseline survey, we present our results to the community leaders. We put the data in their hands and ask them to prioritize the needs. This helps us focus on a handful of issues, but more importantly, it gets the leaders engaged. It creates deeper partnership.