Mother of eight does superhero duties beyond family role

A mother in Tacloban City is a bright spot for the residents as she advocates empowerment and responsible parenthood.

Christina Jackson is a resident of an urban village in Tacloban City. She has eight children — five from her first husband who died from diabetes and three from her second marriage.

The 47-year-old mother earns money by sewing, accepting massage services, and selling viands outside their house. Her profit augments her husband’s income from fish vending.

Two of Christina’s children are already in college, while two are in high school. The rest are still in elementary school.

For both parents, sending all of the eight children to school at the same time is no easy task. They have to provide their children’s school needs, aside from their food and other basic necessities.

“It is not enough to depend on my husband’s income to spend for my children’s school expenses. That is why I am doing my best to earn from different livelihoods,” the mother explained.

With all the hard work she puts into her family, she spares some of it on her many community development endeavors.

In her own barangay (village), she works as a parent leader of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), an initiative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development that provides conditional cash assistance to the poorest of the poor for the education and health and nutrition of children. She currently manages 28-30 parent grantees.

Christina, along with World Vision staff and the participants, during a Celebrating Families activity before the pandemic.

She is also an area leader or officially called as Barangay Service Point Officer (BPSO) of the Tacloban City Population Office with 15 barangays under her care. She goes around each barangay and facilitates the many information promotions of the office, which includes responsible parenthood, family planning, and violence against women and children (VAWC) prevention.

“I started as a Barangay Health Worker in our community, but when our leaders identified my capability in facilitating seminars and gatherings, it brought me to opportunities which led me to where I am now,” Christina shared.

In 2018, the active government worker was also tapped as a facilitator of World Vision’s Spiritual Nurture for Filipino Children (SNFC). The organization partnered with the population office to reach more families, especially the children, to ‘intentionally nurture children’s spirituality towards a growing knowledge and experience of God’s love in Jesus Christ as part of the community of faith through discipleship, scripture, worship and prayer.

After the SNFC training, Christina began implementing the SNFC module called Celebrating Families. The said module is a tool developed by World Vision to support parents and caregivers in the creation of a family and community environment that foster children’s spiritual development and overall well-being.

The module is usually done in a 3 and half day workshop and it allows the participants to revisit their past and understand their own childhood stories and experiences. They are encouraged to see how these experiences impact how they are raising their own children. It also gives them the opportunity to help restore relationship within the family.

Christina has experienced the impact of the training in her personal life. When she attended the facilitator training in 2018, her co-participant was her mother, who is also a BPSO. Christina shared that she had a distant relationship with her, but, during the end of the Celebrating Families workshop, she approached her mother, hugged her, and they both reconciled their concerns.

“The Celebrating Family workshop often leads to many emotional moments. Parents cry when they look back at what they have been through and how it affects their relationship with their spouse and their children,” Christina remembered. Having gone through the process herself, she has mastered how to become a good facilitator.

“My role is to guide them through the process and make them understand the significance of harmonious relationship in the family and the community.”

Christina also shared that the most common challenge is about parents quarreling and how it affects the children. She would mediate it by reminding the parents to remain patient and understanding if their partner is in a bad mood.

“I also advise women on how to maximize their time and be productive especially in earning income. I often cite my journey as an example. I think of this as a way to empower my fellow mothers,” said Christina.

The active community worker also shared that she practiced some of World Vision’s Celebrating Families activities in her 4Ps programs where she can touch more lives.

During the pandemic, face to face gatherings are prohibited, but this doesn’t stop her from sharing helpful information to the families. She would go house to house and distribute brochure materials that advocate responsible parenthood.

Christina is a testament of how a mother can be extraordinary in providing for her children. And doing more beyond her role in the family is nothing short of remarkable.