March 2012: When she lost her husband a few years ago, everything changed for Rebecca Tesoro, a 41-year-old mother of 3 from Magtuad village in Northern Samar, Philippines. She suddenly found herself facing new challenges daily. Aside from doing the household chores she became family’s sole breadwinner
Rebecca would wake up very early to tend to her rice crops on the family’s small parcel of land and make sure that she was back home to prepare breakfast before her children went to school. After that she was back in the field and by mid-morning she would be home again doing more chores before preparing lunch for everyone. Then she’d return to her crops once more!
“It was very hard. I had to act as both father and mother to my children,” she said.
A helping hand
Things changed for the better when Rebecca joined the local farmers’ association, which had entered into a partnership with Plan Philippines.
“The project was about improving farm practices to increase production and achieve food security and better nutrition for children. I knew that was what I particularly needed,” she added.
Rebecca became an active member of the association, joining various training sessions and life skills seminars. She also went on learning-exchange visits and contributed to the establishment and maintenance of her group’s demonstration farms. On a daily basis, she applied everything she learnt to her small farm with some help from her friends and colleagues at the association.
Today Rebecca says the rice farming system she grew up with has been given a major boost thanks to the new technology she has had access to. Rebecca is now looking forward to a bumper yield this year. Rebecca's new vegetable garden also provides her with an additional income and helps keep the children fed with fresh and nutritious goodies.