Helping her community through her volunteer work in the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) has become a passion for Charo Simara Ablao, 37.
A resident of Misserior Village in Barangay Balaring, General Mamerto Natividad, Nueva Ecija, Charo is a mother of five children, all of whom are scholars in a local school. Her husband, Silvestre Madi Ablao, Jr., is a mechanic in Quezon City and comes home only once a month. Charo has a mobile loading station to help her spouse provide for their children.
Even though Charo was unable to attend the first assembly mobilized by Kalahi-CIDSS within the village, her active participation during the next meeting got her fellow villagers to notice her and elect her as the Barangay Representation Team (BRT) Chairperson. The BRT is responsible for speaking in behalf of their village during the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum- Participatory Resource Allocation (MIBF-PRA) to try to get funding for their village’s proposed project.
According to Charo, she first felt sad when she learned that their area is covered by Kalahi-CIDSS, because she believed it simply meant that their town was considered one of the poorest municipalities in the country. However, when she attended the first Municipal Orientation conducted by the program, she realized that this perspective is wrong, because she learned that the program will actually help her and her fellow residents in their barangay become empowered to escape from poverty.
Participating in Kalahi-CIDSS is not the first time she has served as a community volunteer, being a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Parent Leader and a member of the Barangay Pastoral Council.
“Lahat ng klase ng pagiging volunteer, pinapasok ko (I have experienced all kinds of volunteer work)”, she said. “Naniniwala ako na hindi kailangan humingi ng kapalit sa pagtulong sa kapwa. Alam ko na ang aking pansariling kakayanan ay makakatulong para sa ikauunlad ng aming barangay (I believe that you do not need to ask for anything in return when you help others. I know that my own skills can help in improving our barangay),” she continued.
Charo and her team, as well as the other BRTs of General Mamerto Natividad, will be presenting their proposed projects during their MIBF-PRA this mid-June. During this activity, the BRTs will vote which of the proposals of the 20 barangays will receive funding through Kalahi-CIDSS. Barangay Balaring’s proposed sub-project is for the improvement of their water system.
Central Luzon is a new region covered by Kalahi-CIDSS upon its expansion into the national community-driven development program. Aside from General Mamerto Natividad, Quezon and Talugtug will also be implementing the program.
Kalahi-CIDSS is a program of the Department of the Social Welfare and Development that seeks to help alleviate poverty through the community-driven development approach, a strategy that puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to identify their community’s primary problems and implement and maintain their identified solutions.