Wheelchair-bound moms’ Christmas wish: better jobs

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Theresita Lloren and young mothers who work at Tahanang Walang Hagdanan in Cainta, Rizal (Photo: Oliver Samson)

MANILA, Dec. 21, 2015 – Young mothers with disabilities employed as non-regular workers at a foundation in Rizal wish for Christmas are regular jobs with better compensation so they could be able to send their kids to college.

With irregular and meager wages, college education for their children is uncertain, they said in a recent interview at Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, Inc. (Tahanan) in Cainta, Rizal.

“I would grab if [a job] is offered,” said Thelma Adangla, 35, an amputee and a single mom to an able-bodied daughter who is in grade 7 in Baguio.

Dreams for the future

She works at Tahanan’s workshop for packaging medicine and dreams of her daughter becoming a physician someday.

Tahanan is outsourced by pharmaceutical companies for the packaging of their products.

Veronica Estrella, 30, a mother to three, hopes her eldest could become a police officer some day, her second a soldier, and her youngest a nurse who would take care of her and her husband when they grow old.

Her eldest is in grade 1, her second in daycare, her third still a baby.

Estrella’s husband also packages medicine for a living. They live in one of the duplexes of Tahanan. Her in-laws look after the kids while they are at work.

Below minimum wage

Rose Ann Lita, 30, and her husband, who also has a disability, have no idea yet how they could be able to send their two children to college.

“We just earn [Lita and her husband] around Php 8, 000 a month,” she said in Filipino.

They live in Morong, and come to work in a motor trike her husband had learned to drive. Her husband works at Tahanan’s metal craft.

Vilma Macaubos, 31, has three children, one with her estranged husband, also a person with disability, and two with her live-in partner, an able-bodied.

She hopes the government and the private sector could generate regular and better paying jobs for people like them, so they can provide their children with higher education.

‘Forever grateful’

All four would be forever grateful to Tahanan for the opportunity to work at the foundation.

But if a regular job is offered, they would not think twice to grab it for the future of their children.

According to Tahanan administrator Theresita Lloren, workers at the foundation earn between Php 5, 000 to P8, 000 a month.

It is “not a regular business entity” and cannot meet the mandatory minimum wage, she noted.

“The thrust is to provide persons with disabilities with decent work,” Lloren said.

When people working at Tahanan look for other opportunities outside, they give other persons with disabilities the opportunity to work at the foundation, she said.

Tahanan, which was founded by Sr. Ma. Paula Valerian Baerts, a Belgian nun, can accommodate about 300 employees and workers only, Lloren added. (Oliver Samson / CBCP News)

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