Women of Marawi

 

Joy Maluyo, Emergency Communications Specialist

 

Pain, when it hits us hard, demands to be recognized, to be felt, so that we could gather ourselves again and come out stronger. That pain could be the destruction of the city we called home, the place we grew up to, where we built families and where we dreamt our first dreams.

 

Yasmin, Khaironisa, and Johara know that pain too well. In the last nine months since the Marawi crisis happened, they have cried about it, lived with it and are now rising above it.

 

Yasmin, 43

 

 

“I make accessories out of recycled materials. I used to earn a good amount of money from this – making wedding or birthday souvenirs, t-shirt and mug printing, or anything that involved creative designs. I had a small stall in the war zone.

 

Things were doing well until the crisis happened. We had to flee. My work was disrupted. I cried because that meant I wouldn’t be able to support my children who are now in college but I also knew I couldn’t keep on crying.”

 

 

“When we went back to Marawi last November, I started again using the scraps I saw from around me. Now I’m getting back on my feet. It is still not easy because I need more capital but I’ll get there.

 

I survived many years of not having a husband around to help me raise my two children. I will get through this tough time again.”

 

Khaironisa, 43

 

 

“My husband and I worked hard for years to grow our business. We started with a small amount of money. I did the cooking while my husband managed the first cart. We would spend the day in front of schools, selling fishball and other simple snacks. It prospered until we got four other carts.”

 

 

“I still get emotional when I think about what happened in Marawi City and how it changed our lives. But I also get encouraged every time I remember how families, friends and people we don’t even know helped us in our lowest of lows.

 

I am back to cooking snacks. I started with a budget of less than P1,000. It’s starting to grow day by day and every time I receive help, I add it on my capital. The war destroyed all my five food carts but not my ability to do business. Not long from now, I believe I’ll be able to buy another one.”

 

Johara, 35

 

 

“I have five children. The oldest is 13 and the youngest is 2.

 

When we did the cash-for-work program with World Vision, we were grouped as part of our peace-building activities. In the middle of the 10-day activity, we thought of forming the OGOP (Organization of Greeners Opportunity Project) team so we can help ourselves recover. Each day from then on, we, a group of women, would bring our products – snacks, accessories, so we can sell together while we spend more time with each other.

 

There is also one reason, aside from enjoying my neighbours’ company and helping my husband provide for the family, on why I joined the group. You see, my children are still young. I want them to grow in an environment that helps one another, that embraces peace and not violence. We are moving forward as a community and by being an example to our children, we’re all hopeful that what happened in Marawi will not happen again in the future.

 

 

Yasmin, Khaironisa and Johara are all members of the OGOP group which is still active to this day. World Vision, in partnership with local partners – Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefit (ECOWEB), Mindanaw Tripartite Youth Core (MTYC), Tapukan Farmers Movement for Progress and Concord, Inc (TFMPC), Lanao Youth Council (LYC), Ranaw Watch for Empowerment Network (RAWATEN), Inc, also continues to work alongside their communities.

 

The road to recovery is still long but just like their city that is war-torn but not struck down, these women and their families are battle-scarred but not crushed.World Vision/March 1, 2018

 


 

World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

 

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