Family’s Dreams of School, New Incomes, and Milestones Come True

Philippines_success_storyMilagros Calleja and her family struggled to get by on their income from tobacco. Although they worked hard in the fields, Milagros and her husband found it very difficult to make ends meet. There was so much work to do on the farm that sometimes Milagros took her three children to help out. Cash was so tight she couldn’t afford to send her children to school.

All this changed when an ECLT Foundation project was implemented in her region. She quickly learned about the problems of child labour and what she could do in her own family to end it. Supported with an education grant, Milagros was able to send her oldest child to school. A livelihood assistance initiative enabled Milagros to improve her income by breeding goats. The income earned allowed her to send the other two children to school.

The income also allowed them to build a new home and buy a Kuliglig – a manually operated tractor. Their house and their Kuliglig are powerful symbols of how their lives have changed over the years. Now they can invest in farming and their living conditions rather than use all their earnings on basic necessities like food.

In 2009 Milagros’s oldest son graduated from high school. “This is an important milestone. I am proud to witness my child slowly taking steps toward the realisation of his dreams,” she said.