Poverty Alleviation

Baking bread empowers abused and underprivileged women in Davao

October 6, 2016 By

For sexagenarian and retiree Lorna Raza, her age was inconsequential in her pursuit of a new skill. The former government employee recently had the opportunity to learn the basics of baking. The class was light, easy, and fun. Her classmates were women who, just like her, wanted to do something productive for themselves and their families.

The class was offered for free to women considered as ‘underprivileged’ and those who are victims of domestic violence. The main objective was for them to be free from their burdens, for them to be economically independent and productive, and for them to be competitive.

The 60-year-old Raza, who worked as the Davao City area coordinator of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PUCP) for 28 years, was hopeful her new skill will work for her and her family.

“This gave me the opportunity to be productive even after my retirement,” she said. “This is a new skill and I am just excited about the possibility of making a living out of this.”

The 5-day course was introduced by the local government of Davao City through the City Cooperative Development Office (CCDO) in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

Raza and 34 other women recently graduated from the course held at the Livelihood and Productivity Center, a 55-square meter training center located in SIR Matina.

Another graduate was Maria Fe Caral, a member of Samahan ng may Kapansanan sa Dabaw (Sakadab). A scoliotic, Fe never allowed her disability to impair her desire to learn new skills or allow it to dampen her chances of becoming productive.

Caral’s group operates a bakery in Los Amigos in Tugbok. Following her training, the group intends to expand its operations. Despite her being confined to her wheelchair, Caral will be one of the bakers.

The other graduates were survivors of rape and victims of violence against women.

The highlight of the lesson was baking procedures and techniques. The participants were also taught about occupational health and safety, hygiene procedures, costing determination, and projecting revenues.

During the training, participants baked ensaymada, banana muffins, pan de sal, chocolate crinkles, cinnamon roll, and chiffon cake. They were also taught the basics on icing or frosting preparation and cake decoration.

“The sessions and process were light but the outputs are very good in terms of quality,” Raza said.

Donna España, head of the Livelihood and Enterprise Development Unit of the Cooperative Office, said the training was designed to assist and make women economically independent and productive.

“The program is two-pronged,” said España. “A participant can only be wanting to enhance her skills, but this can develop into something entrepreneurial. She can create a group and put up a cooperative or a bakery.”

Mayor Inday Sara Duterte has been encouraging Dabawenyas to help themselves by embarking on activities that will equip them with a new set of skills and knowledge that can be tapped in the implementation of government programs and projects to end hunger and poverty in communities.

“We need empowered women to be involved in efforts to build better and productive communities,” the mayor said. “If women are independent, strong-willed, and are able to lead, the implementation of our programs and projects aimed at addressing poverty and hunger will definitely be successful.”

The mayor stressed that it’s not enough that women are able to articulate their concerns and the concerns of their communities.

“More than being heard, it is also important that the efforts of women, their presence are felt and seen. We need the active and the aggressive involvement of everyone, especially women,” she said.

She underscored that if women are educated and empowered, they are economically powerful.

“Empowered women can help stir the economic activities of our communities and it means employment, productivity, and livelihood,” she said.

To support women entrepreneurship, Mayor Inday Sara has approved the revival of Mag-Negosyo Ta ‘Day (MTD), a micro-enterprise program that provides technical and financial assistance to livelihood projects initiated by women.

Lorna B. Mandin, who heads the Integrated Gender Development Division (IGDD) and used to head MTD’s program management staff noted that the program has already established and identified active participants and beneficiaries from community-based organized women, barangay-cased micro-entrepreneurs and members of the Indigenous Peoples.

MTD was designed to empower women and be the local government’s partners in pursuing development. It was first implemented during the first term of Mayor Inday Sara in 2010.

MTD even had a number of specially designed carts strategically located in prominent places and establishments around the city to promote products like handicrafts, processed food, and other products. CIO