Sustaining Progress

Published by Connie Barrameda on

In year 1999, a Self-Employment Assistance –Kaunlaran Association (SEA-K) came to birth in Gainza, Camarines Sur. It has 20 women members with a capital assistance of P100, 000.00 released by the Department of Social welfare and Development. The grant was invested by most of the members in farming since majority of the land in the municipality is devoted to rice, vegetables and other root crops. Some of the members have diversified into handicraft like; basket, bags, slippers and other novelty items made from “ragiwdiw”. Ragiwdiw is a variety of weed, considered a nuisance plant now used as economic venture that provide income to families.
Amelia Collantes, the association’s president of the Sampaloc,Poblacion Gainza (SPG) SEA-K Association shared that their businesses and projects did not only help uplift their economic condition but also made a moral recovery of sort to other residents in their barangay. What is remarkable is that for the last 16 years the association is still in existence.

Amelia proudly said that the capital assistance they received was important but what they valued most is the technical skills the group gained from the Basic Business Management Training. The SPG SEA-K Association also prides themselves for their integrity and trustworthiness. Each member ensures that they are able to pay the required amount monthly for the roll-back. After two years, the group were able to fully paid their loan and still have saving/equity and capital build-up deposited in their accounts.

Maritess Glove, the association’s treasurer shared that part of the capital build-up was utilized for the re-loan of group members particularly those who need an additional capital for their existing livelihood project. Likewise, the group’s fund is being used to fund emergency loan such as medical, education and payment of bills with a maximum amount of P3, 000 with a low interest rate.

To keep the enthusiasm of the group alive, they have involve themselves in community activities like the clean and green project of the barangay and volunteered themselves in the implementation of the KC- sub projects like the construction of health station and the drainage canal. Amelita became the BSPM Chairman. One member disclosed that she is giving credit to the association as it helped her improve her personality. “ Dato hindi ako marunong makihalobilo sa tao. Ngayon ay marami na akong kaibigan, at naalis na rinn ang aking pagkamahiyain.” (Before I do not know how to mingle but now I have gained lots of friends and I was able to shun away from shyness.)

Having exhibited good performance and proper management of their projects, the group was able to qualify for the level 2, the SEA_Kabayan with a cash grant of P449, 500.00. Aside from the additional capital assistance, it has also a housing component. Amelia claimed that their association is not only concerned of their individual livelihood project but have acknowledged the financial hardship of their community that they decided to organize a credit cooperative both for its members and non-members. This is to avoid the crippling loan shark. Given priority for the loan are those farmers who are mostly engage in rice production. What the cooperative release are either seedlings or fertilizers depending on the needs of the applicant. The monetized value of the goods granted is equivalent to the maximum amount of P3, 000 with 1% interest for their monthly payment.

Aside from organizing a credit cooperative, they are able to put up a SEA-K Center, a place where they can hold their meeting and other functions. Because of their participation to worthy projects, a chain reaction of sorts was generated in the community. Looking back at the way they were living years back, one would never think that they would go this far. The cycle of apathy was broken and the feeling of self-worth was restored among them. The SPG SEA-K Association remains bonded and working to sustain progress in the municipality of Gainza.# # # # eejerusalem

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