LAKE SEBU, South Cotabato – Sayna Cafon was born and grew up in this hinterland town. Although she finished her primary school, she was not able to get a degree in college due to financial problem.

“My parents’ source of income then was only fishing and it cannot support to send us in school,” Cafon, a mother of two, claims.

For a young T’boli native woman like her, while others are leaving to get a better life abroad, Cafon, 27, says she decided to stay in their poor rural village of Tasiman rather to a distant city abroad with millions of people.

“That’s my crusade. I wanted to help then my neighbours. Most of them are the same with me. We haven’t gone to college,” she admits.

In 2009, Cafon was unanimously chosen by her fellow citizen in their village as one of the parent leaders under the government’s conditional cash transfer program.

For more than five years she has been working without any reward along with CCT workers and local government officials.

“I am doing this with love without any expectation in return from the government,” she says.

Last year, Ms. Cafon finished a training program of Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System (ALS), a ladderized, modular non-formal education scheme for dropouts in elementary and secondary schools, out-of-school youths, non-readers, working Filipinos and even senior citizens.

“Now she was hired by the DepEd as one of their mobile teachers in the region. She is now starting teaching with her fellow villagers,” says Teresita Guylan, head of CCT program in South Cotabato province.

“She is very active not only with us in the program but in all affairs of local government unit of Lake Sebu. We know from the start that she has leadership,” she adds.

Bai Zorahayda T. taha, DSWD regional director, says it was observed that the monthly attendance to Family Development Session being conducted by the Municipal Links and other partners in the area, is one of the strategy that inspired our beneficiaries to participate and involved in the activities in their communities.

“The way you deal with them, your presence visibility, their concern and problems address properly, and your respect with them, plays a vital role. These are our strategies on the ground,” she adds.

In region 12, around 37,957 IPs, 36,232 of them women, are currently covered by CCT. (End)