The role women play in the families this pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic sets in, the role of women, particularly mothers, in the household has undeniably deepened. In World Vision communities nationwide, we have seen how mothers took on several roles, sometimes, all at the same time — caretaker, housekeeper, co-breadwinner, teachers, and students. This photo essay provides a snapshot of how mothers cope and keep their family members together amid today’s challenging situation.

A student once more

Jessica has always been wanting to become a call center agent to help her husband earn a living. When she heard about the Bridge to Employment Project of World Vision and the Embassy of Czech Republic in Manila, she immediately enrolled. The Project provides Jessica with small financial assistance to continue her study through the government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) online courses. She’s currently taking Contact Center Services.

Ang hirap! Pero kakayanin ko po ito. Gusto ko po kasing magkatrabaho kasi nga may anak na kami. Sakto naman pong may ganitong project. [It’s hard! But I will try my best. I really want to find a job to help support my baby’s needs. Good thing there’s a project like this]” Jessica says.

She does her online class in the morning while taking care of her baby. The BTE project currently supports 80 out-of-school youths and young adults in Manila to continue their education through the Alternative Learning System and TESDA courses and eventually help them land a job.

 

Becoming a storyteller

Bata pa lang po ako mahilig na akong magbasa. Kaya naipasa ko po ang hilig kong ito sa aking mga anak. Mahilig din po silang magbasa ng libro. [I have been an avid reader since I was young. I passed this reading habit to my children. They also love books],” says Lorna, a mother of two girls.

Lorna recently attended World Vision’s storytelling workshop  that teaches mothers new techniques to encourage their children to read and focus more on their studies despite being online most of the times. “I learned a lot from that training. For one, when you are teaching young children how to read, example the word CAT, let them hear the sound and not the letters. So, avoid telling them “see-ayy-teeh” instead say “kah-ah-at’. The training also taught Lorna how to create a storybook. Her storybook is what she shares to her daughters and other children in the neighborhood.

 

Rely on God more

The year 2020 is not a very good year for Midona’s family who experienced Taal Volcanic Eruption and then the COVID-19 pandemic. So, how did she and her family survive all these challenges: Rely on God.

“You have to trust and be at peace with Him.” A strong relationship with God makes every problem more bearable, she advises. Lastly, keep the love within the family. “Misunderstanding among family members will not help in difficult times. Even if you have money, if there is misunderstanding in the family, coping with life’s challenges will prove difficult. My family is poor but we are thriving because we have each other.” Midona’s family is one of the beneficiaries of World Vision’s shelter assistance in Batangas. They are currently living in a newly renovated house.

 

Addressing malnutrition starts at home

Since Justine, 3, was born, Amie has been feeding him with just about anything in the house, thinking that a full stomach is synonymous to a healthy body. “But when I attended World Vision’s nutrition classes, I learned that what I was doing was wrong. It’s not just the amount of food but the quality of his food that counts,” she shares.

World Vision teaches parents and caregivers proper food preparation to avoid and address malnutrition in communities through its Pinoy Nutrition Hub, where parents or caregivers attend an hour-long nutrition classes where they are taught how to prepare food based on local food resources available in the family’s garden or community. Hygienic preparation of food is also taught. Amie adds that she is not just applying what she learned to his son but also to what she and her husband eats — nutrient-rich food with ingredients coming from their garden.

 

Additional earning for the family

For Marissa, being a beneficiary of World Vision’s organic hog livelihood program is heaven sent. “My husband’s income is not enough for the family. When I received a hog, I was excited and happy,” she shares.

World Vision’s organic hog-raising program in Marissa’s community aims to provide additional income to families. The program employs a “pay-it-forward” scheme where the first batch of families whose hogs produce piglets would give some to the second batch of families, and so on. “Most of my spending for my children’s educational needs came from the income from selling our pigs.”

 

A Teacher and A Mother

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Melojane has been acting as teacher to his son, Jay, a World Vision sponsored child.

“I usually assist him on lessons that he couldn’t understand,” she says. Melojane, a mother of four, has been the family’s semi-teacher this pandemic when most of her children are doing module-type study. “But I mostly focus on Jay because my other children are old enough to answer their lessons,” she says, adding that their involvement with World Vision sponsorship encourages them to value the importance of education.