A Thriving Business and a Home
I met a very courageous and determined girl sometime in 2005 in Ozamiz City, Philippines. Maryjoy Tabuco is the eldest among the four siblings. She was born on September 8, 1992, in San Jose, Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur. Her father was killed by Maryjoy's uncle in Tambulig while they were having fun with the family for no reason. She helped in the rice seed breeding and promotion of Organic Agriculture during her teenage year.
After Maryjoy's father died, her mother decided to marry again. Her mother moved in with her new husband, and Maryjoy also decided to study at the Ozamiz School for the Deaf. At this time, Columban Fr. Oliver McCrossan started to give financial support for Maryjoy's education. She lived in Ozamiz without her family until she finished her high school at La-Salle University. She shared with me that at this time she was not able to see again her mother and brothers and sisters.
Her life was not easy, and at her very young age, she was trying to survive despite of all of the difficulties in life. Living with people she did not know and who were not her relatives was not easy. According to her, she did this because she did not have a family to rely on.
When she started college, she went to Tacloban City to finish her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Philippine St. Francis, Annex Assisi Deaf Center, Inc., Calbayog Western Samar.
In November 2017, Maryjoy finished college and decided to go back in Ozamiz City to look for a job. She worked at one of the establishments in Ozamiz at Carmela's, selling cakes and pastries with a salary of $3.25 per day from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. She is renting a small room at Annex, Ozamiz City, for $33.38 every month. Maryjoy's job is not permanent, even though she completed her college degree.
Last month, she visited again the Columban founded Pedaling to live and Green Shelter, Inc., and we had a short discussion about the new opportunities for her. We launched a new livelihood program for the deaf, and Maryjoy decided to avail herself of this opportunity. She received a small amount of capital to build a small store selling snacks, viand, beverages, and other food. Every Monday to Friday Maryjoy and her friend, Bernard, who is deaf, will sell banana toron, bihon, ice candy, and pinakbit, but on Saturday and Sunday they sell barbeque hanging rice in Cotta beach.
Another opportunity for Maryjoy was opened because she was one of our new housing beneficiaries, following the same program of the tricycle drivers in paying for a house. She will pay $0.56 a day for the house until she can pay the whole amount of $1,854.33 for the house.
She is now happy in her new house with her neighbors. I was very touched by her determination, and I decided to write her life story because she was one of the people whom we are working and recipients of the donations from our benefactors. Maryjoy is now well educated and confident in her small business.
Thank you to all the benefactors who have touched the lives of people like Maryjoy around the world.
Columban Fr. Oliver McCrossan began the "Pedaling to Live" project in the Philippines. Virgenia Vidad currently supervises the project.