Many of the poor parents in the Philippines are largely uneducated. Because of family pressure to help in their livelihood, many present-day adults only went to elementary school, grade 6 in the Philippines, some only to grade 2. Although the government covered the tuition for public elementary school, supplies, materials needed for projects, uniforms, lunches, travel fare and snacks were needed to be paid by the family. (the same is true to this day, by the way.) Whether due to helping the family with the livelihood or not having money for school, most poor adults have quite a challenging time finding a job because of their lack of education. Having no factories or nearly any blue-collar jobs in all of Eastern Samar there are few options for the poor.
Many of the poor people of Eastern Samar have their own livelihood from fishing, coconut harvesting, selling vegetables they grow or food they cook. They are at the mercy of the weather and of the demand for their products. Some rent tricycles (Filipino taxi cabs) or other equipment for their livelihood, but the rental fees are so high that by the time they pay the rent, there is little left for the family. It is a great problem, especially as the children of these parents are growing up also without a full education unless they are able to enter a scholarship program.
In 2021, the Oikos Sisters were inspired with a new livelihood program called Give Back in Gratitude. In this program, the poor are able to borrow money from the Oikos Mission to purchase what they need to begin their livelihood, whatever that may be. They sign a contact stating they will pay back weekly the money they have borrowed after a short grace period. The money they pay back is not exorbitant, so they are able to still provide for the family’s needs with a little sacrificing! When the money is paid back, the equipment is theirs and all of the money they make in the livelihood is theirs as well. The funds they pay back are then given to another beneficiary to help with his/her livelihood, hence the name Give Back in Gratitude!
So far most of the families living in Oikos Village have been able to avail of Give Back in Gratitude, and many others who have heard of this program have asked to be on a waiting list to participate as well. Your donation, if you feel so inspired to give, would be a never-ending cycle of help for those in need because as the first family you help has benefitted from the program, they give back your donation and we use it for another family!
If you would like to donate to Give Back in Gratitude, please click here!