Three faces of a winner

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Sunday, August 31, 2014


IN 2001, The Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) launched an economic empowerment initiative for women from the grassroots. The project, dubbed Winners or Women In Need Now Entrepreneurs and Role Models, is the search for hard-working women who are engaged in small businesses in the barangays of Mandaue City.

The objective, with the assistance of the barangay leaders, is to identify qualified candidates to the contest with the hope that the prize money of P50,000 and other benefits will put these women and their families on the path to improving their businesses, their way of life at the same time enable them to become role models in their respective communities. That is why, unlike many other charitable projects, the Winners prize is not a just a “hand out” but more of a “hand up,” building up budding women entrepreneurs and educating them to become exemplary members in the community. There are already three winners whose inspiring stories affirm that with hard work, competence, perseverance and prayers, any woman can attain self-sufficiency.

Charito Cabatingan, Barangay Cabancalan

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Before: Roadside barbecue vendor and small carinderia owner

Now: Grocery store and supplier of rice, sugar and other basic commodities to 20 small sari-sari stores With her prize money for winning the 2011 Winners contest, Charito, married and a mother of three college students, was able to rent a bigger store for her growing grocery store. And because her friends and neighbors would want her to supply them with items they need for their stores, she subsequently became their regular supplier. Because she needed a service vehicle for this, she bought a multicab. But she said that her greatest achievement and happiness is the fact that she was able to let her three children finish college and that she was given the opportunity to serve her neighbors who are in need.

“Swerti kaayo ko nga ako ang napili (sa) Winners. Nagpasalamat gyod ko og dako sa MCCI kay sila ang nagtinguha ani para namong mga kababayin-an nga naginahanglan. Pero labaw sa tanan, ang Ginoo ang nagbuot aning panghitabo sa atong kinabuhi. Dili gyod ta niya pasagdan kon mosangpit lang ta sa kaniya sa kanunay,” Charito said.

Dulce Senerpida, Barangay Pakna-an

Before: Small sari-sari store owner
Now: Complete line of groceries, pharmacy, rice and feeds retailer, and school supplies

“Walay pobre kong magkugi” has always been Dulce ‘s guiding principle in life. And true enough, her industry and perseverance paid off and made her P50,000 richer when she was chosen the 2012 Winners awardee. This came at a time when she needed it the most since her small sari-sari store was dwindling due to competition with bigger ones. But she did not give up. She cooked pospas and sold them at P5 per cup, which gave her enough to sustain her family. After winning, she opened a grocery store in a commercial building with a rental of P15,000 a month. She was also chosen as Miss 360 Pharmacy, which provided her the stocks and display shelves for a drug store. She was also elected president of the Parent-Teacher Association of Pakna-an National High School, something she never dreamed of becoming.

“Importante gyod nga morespeto ka sa imong isig-katawo hilabi na sa imong mga customers. Dili ka dapat mamili og dili usab ka mangasaba kong mang hangyo sila,” Dulce said.

She gave this little piece of advice: “Maningkamot, mag-ampo, mo-share sab ta. Kaloy-an ra gyod ta sa Ginoo kon kahibalo sab ta maluoy sa atong isigkatawo.”

Hazel del Castillo, Barangay Cambaro

Before: Snacks vendor

Now: Supplier of homemade pastries, delicacies and snacks to big companies and call centers

This 2013 Winners awardee makes the best masi and empanada in Mandaue, having won the inter-barangay cooking contest. Her maja mais is also good. Hazel used to supply these snacks and even ice candy to public schools. She single-handedly prepared them herself. When she won the award, the first thing she did was to buy stainless steel trays and a freezer. This way, her products are sure to be fresh and clean, because she is very particular with sanitation since she does not want her customers to get sick.

“My becoming a winner did not only make me improve my business, it made me a better person and an inspiration to my barangay,” Hazel confessed. One thing she has taught her five children (with names beginning with “J” for Jesus) is this: “If you will not excel in academics, excel in your talent.” Her children are a brood of talented young people in the field of music and dance.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 01, 2014.

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