The PSHF first met Myrna Lopez and her family in 1992. She was just widowed at the time after her husband had died of cancer. We gave her a loan of 1,000 pesos for fish and vegetable peddling. The Lopez family received subsequent help from us in the form of grants for housing, medical and livelihood; 5,000 pesos in 1998, 24,000 pesos in 2002 and 20,000 pesos in 2008. We were a lifeline for the family in their times of need and this is the case again this year.
In 2009, Myrna’s children were all married except for Jefferson, the third child, and Jefferlyn, the fifth; Myrna had eight children in all but two died before 2009. To find greener pastures, Myrna and Jefferlyn went to Manila to work as domestic helpers. Jenel, the sixth child who had his own family, were left to live and look after the family home in Purok Bayanihan, a slum community on the eastern outskirts of Bacolod city. He supported his wife and three children by transporting passengers on a rented tricycle.
After three years of working in Manila, Myrna and Jefferlyn decided to come home as they could barely save on their small salaries. They arrived back in Bacolod on April 19 and it was then that they found out about Jenel’s condition. He had started to get sick three months earlier but had not seen a doctor, thinking that nothing was serious. Myrna and Jefferlyn then came to the PSHF to ask for financial help to enable Jenel to undergo tests and buy his medicines. The tests revealed that Jenel had aplastic anaemia. We assured Jenel that we would fund his treatment until his recovery, but unfortunately, he died on June 16; he was just 24 years old. The PSHF immediately disbursed more funds to pay for Jenel’s funeral expenses.
Presently, Myrna (62), Jefferlyn (26) and Myrna’s granddaughter, Gizel (6), are back in Purok Bayanihan. Jenel’s family is in La Carlota, his wife’s hometown outside of Bacolod. Neither Myrna nor Jefferlyn is earning now; they depend on the monthly allowance, 2,500 pesos (¥5,000) on average, from Jemyr, Gizel’s father who is working in Manila. This amount is not sufficient to meet their daily needs.
In the light of all the above, we would like to help Myrna and her family with a grant of 15,000 pesos; it will be allocated as follows: 7,500 pesos as already disbursed for Jenel’s medical and funeral expenses, 4,000 pesos for a toilet and 3,500 pesos for Jefferlyn to start a small business. Jefferlyn would like to peddle used clothing in her neighbourhood; “ukay-ukay” is much in demand so she hopes her sales can give her a net income of 400 pesos (¥800) a week. Jefferlyn herself has her own struggles - born without proper hands and feet, and only with fists and stumps, she appears to be walking on stilts when she walks. She also has a deformed tongue which slurs her speech. Despite all these disabilities, she can do a lot of things and she maintains a positive outlook in life. We believe that her business will do well.
The Lopez family has been through a lot of tragedies, and we are happy that we can help them again.
Glitter H. Moreño
PSHF Negros Occidental