Celebrating women in leadership

“These times call for us women to take leadership positions and help implement the change we want to see,” says village council Jurmina.

For six years, Jurmina has been serving her community as a barangay health worker (BHW), looking after the health and nutrition of the children, educating pregnant and lactating women on good health practices.

“Deciding to run for a villlage councilor position was not easy. The job requires a lot of my time and I have a family to look after. It was a tough call but knew I had to do it, so I did,” she shares.

That decision brought her to the barangay council. She now heads the committee on health where she strongly advocates for the welfare of women and children.

“We have strengthened our campaign on immunization because that was one of the gaps I saw when I was a BHW. Many parents are still afraid to get their kids immunized,” she explains. Amid COVID-19, Jurmina was also at the forefront of keeping the community safe from the virus by doing awareness raising initiatives.

World Vision volunteer

On top of being a mother to eight children, a wife, a village councilor, Jurmina is also one of World Vision’s active child monitors in the barangay. World Vision started its sponsorship program in the town of Balo-i Lanao del Norte in 2019, supporting over 2000 children.

Asked how she manages all her commitments, “I have learned to manage my time well. If it is a work that you are passionate about, you find a way to do it,” she smiles.

Childhood stories

Jurmina’s love for children runs deep. She has experienced poverty first hand and she can relate to many children who desperately want to study.

“If there was a program like this in my community when I was a child; if there was someone also checking up on me while my parents were busy providing foods on our table, I would have loved it,” she says.

Jurmina is the eldest among six. She grew up seeing how her parents struggled to provide for their needs. Her mother used to make handwoven mats while her father did vegetable farming. Everyday, after school, Jurmina would also weave mats.

“Every Wednesday during market day, I’d skip classes to sell our mats. I’d wake up at 3am to prepare all the mats we made the previous days. At 4, I’d walk with our neighbors for more than an hour, to reach the market. I wanted to attend my class but I also needed to help my parents.”

Now that she’s in the position to care for other children, she’s taking every chance she can get.

She shares of her story about a 10-year old child in her community, who had to stop studying because of extreme poverty. When World Vision’s sponsorship started, Salmah became a World Vision sponsored child. The child is now back in school and is a Grade 2 student.

“I tried to help Salmah before, but there is only so much I can do. When I knew about World Vision’s program in our community, I talked to her parents and helped convince them to get her on the program. Her being back in school is one of my joys as a World Vision volunteer,” she shares.

Jurmina knows that there are more Salmahs in her community and as a woman in a leadership position, she intends to be involved in initiatives that seek to help children and champion local policies that will help ensure their well-being.