Almeria, Biliran- SAKA (a “waray-waray” term which means rise up in English) – this is how the members of Samahang Kaunlaran, a Sustainable Livelihood Program Association in Brgy. Tabunan, Almeria Biliran, call their group. This holds true as they have continuously grow from an Agrivet store, now expanded into a sari-sari store.
“The agrivet business was earning well such that after a few months, we decided to put up a sari-sari store using our profit. With the money we have gained, we were able to buy a refrigerator, electric fan, and also installed electricity for the store” Emalinda del Rosario, SAKA Treasurer said.
The association received Php 140,000.00 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, through its Sustainable Livelihood Program under the Super Typhoon Yolanda (STY) funds, which the members utilized in renovating and putting up an agrivet store.
“At the end of the year, we equally distribute the profit to our members. This is excluded from the monthly pay received by those who willingly tend the store,” she added.
Aside from the sari- sari store, they also offer money lending to the residents in their community. When asked about how they manage it as borrowers are not from within their association, Emalinda shared, “It needs discipline. We ensure that they will be able to pay their loans. There is a maximum amount that we lend, depending on the situation”.
Currently, the association is earning a gross of Php 287,000.00 per month. With this, they are looking into the possibility of having their group registered into a cooperative. Soon, when they have enough savings, they will buy a piece of land for expansion of their store.
The association serves as inspiration to their municipality. Members have been invited to share knowledge and strategies on livelihood during local government activities.
“It is overwhelming looking back how we started. Most of our members had no livelihood. Instead, they were just waiting for the release of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’s (4Ps) assistance,” Emalinda expressed.
“With the success that our group has achieved, we aspire to help our neighbors and motivate them in building up their livelihood,” she added.
Last April 9 2017, they have just celebrated the association’s first anniversary.