DOST-NCR RD Patalinjug: Women's Rights are Human Rights

DOST-NCR Gives Tribute to Women-led Organizations

Maharlika Taste is a social enterprise for Muslim widows founded by Anna Tajannah Basman who is also the Coordinator for Community Initiatives at the Taha Foundation PH.

The enterprise aims to introduce Mindanao's (Maranaoan) native dishes prepared by Muslim widows from Maharlika, Taguig City. Through the help of DOST-NCR, they were able to introduce their first product, bottled Beef Randang to the market which first sold online through their Facebook and Instagram pages and is now available in Shopee for shipping nationwide.

Jannah pharmacist licensure exam-passer but realizing that "it was actually the medical missions (especially the frequent community immersions where she had the chance to hear stories and have a glimpse of people's lives from diverse backgrounds) which she enjoyed most about her profession," she geared towards community development which she described as getting "closer to the grassroots."

She says "being immersed in cultures different from mine compels me to view the world from a wider perspective - with an open heart and mind, with less assumptions and biases." She also adds "as soon as I found my place in the development sector, I knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

Brgy. Maharlika in Taguig City is known for having the largest Muslim population in Metro Manila. Despite its history of being a residential enclave for Muslim elites in the 1960s, Maharlika has, over the years, gradually turned into a refuge for Muslim migrants from various areas of the Philippines seeking better lives in the Metro. Some of these include children who lost their fathers at an early age due to armed conflict or ill health.

Taha Foundation PH, in partnership with Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), has been running the Orphan Support Program (OSP) since 2016 to provide the aforementioned children's basic needs-such as monthly rice, hygiene kits, school supplies, among others-so that they can focus on their education.

According to Jannah, "her work to serve different communities is her 'ikigai,' -it is the center of the interconnected circles of her passion, mission, profession, and vocation and so there is no 'balancing' needed." She continues "it feels like I am in a place where I am already serving my purpose as part of a whole and, ultimately, as a Muslim."

Empowering women is to give women the right. Women can have an equal right to participate in education, society, economy and politics. Women can be involved in our society as they are free to choose their religion, language, work, and other activities.

As Jannah puts it, a woman should "not let (her) gender, cultural affiliation, and age make her feel inferior."

For Helen B Lising, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ideatechs Packaging Corp., hiring people who live just around the vicinity of their company is a great way to help the community and the local government unit (LGU) she is in.

On an exclusive interview, Helen told us that "karamihan ng mga babaeng empleyado namin dito (ay) mga single mothers na kailangang bumuhay ng mga anak. Hindi rin kami namimili ng mga edad ng empleyado - kahit na may edad na, tinatanggap namin. Marami silang mga kamag-anak (at) mga anak (na) kailangang tustusan kaya nakakatulong sa livelihood nila."

As the CEO of the company, she tries to impart moral values by implementing programs such as 5S and good housekeeping which, she tells her staff, can also be applied at home. "Pinapakita rin naming sa kanila kung paano magsipag, paano maging honest, 'yong respeto-lahat ng mga values na kailangan nila (matutunan), pinapakita namin para sa sarili nila, magamit din nila."

Women are the primary caretakers of children and elders in every country of the world. International studies demonstrate that when the economy and political organization of a society change, women take the lead in helping the family adjust to new realities and challenges. They are likely to be the prime initiator of outside assistance and play an important role in facilitating (or hindering) changes in family life.

During the month of women and girls, let us celebrate positive change by revealing the important role that they play in our society.

Aretei Foods Corporation's Chief Operations Officer (COO), Tricia Castrodes, strongly believes that if a person (especially a woman) chooses to be an entrepreneur, he/she needs to have a higher purpose.

"If she wants to be excellent in whatever field she is in," she says, "if she wants to make a difference in her workplace, if she wants her presence felt in this world, it doesn't matter if it was then or now."

Tricia left her job not only because she needed to focus more on their family's business but also on her kids. "I am blessed with a job I can do at home. Our commissary is located just beside our house. My kids are all used to Mommy working at home. Though I am busy with work and the business, I can still cook for them and take care of household duties at the same time. Pre pandemic, my husband and my kids are used to Mommy waiting at home when they arrive from work and school respectively."

While balancing business and her job as a full-time mother and wife, she also enjoys biking, doing marathons, rendering volunteer works, and doing other activities with her husband.

Women's empowerment encourages women to feel strong by telling them that they can do everything they want to do. Women can work outside their homes and have the opportunity to make up their minds. They are not dependent on men. They can earn a living to support their family by working through their abilities.

March 8 is Women's Rights and International Peace Day.

Most people might say that success is described as the accomplishment of a purpose. To others, it is the attainment of popularity, profit, and prosperity or just a person achieving his or her desired goals and ambitions. However, Geraldine "Dina" Estacio (Dina) defines this term in a very different way saying "success for me is not the money that you have (but) the satisfaction with your family; the happiness with everybody (that comes from within) that you can share with everyone."

On 24 November 2020, DOST awarded SETUP beneficiary (under DOST-NCR'S PAMAMAZON Cluster), DJM Grandeur Corporation, led by Dina, who continued to excel during the pandemic acknowledging the company as the BEST in terms of its productivity, resilience, agility, innovation, sustainability, and excellence which led to expanding its market reach in the midst of the challenges brought about by COVID-19.

March is Women's Month pursuant to Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988 declaring the first week of March of every year as Women's Week. With the theme "WE Make Change Work for Women," DOST-NCR joins this celebration highlighting the need to empower women as harbingers of change and enable them to participate in and benefit from development efforts.

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