In the summer of 2018, Felisa “Mama Pita” Castro, 54 took leadership of the Social Protection Coalition in Eastern Visayas, a network that protects marginalised groups in the region.
Since 2005, Mama Pita has been active in various community activities, particularly to do with women’s rights in Eastern Samar. She was even a founding member of a federation of civil society organisations that focus on women’s rights.
This work involved raising awareness on women’s rights as well as providing support for survivors of violence.
Getting women involved in decision-making
She also believes in the importance of proactively involving women in issues such as disaster risk reduction, local elections and governance, social protection, health, and reducing the prevalence of drugs and abuse.
“In all of these issues, rural women are always affected,” says Mama Pita.
Now, through Plan International’s Social Protection Project, she is also working towards the rights of senior citizens and people with disabilities.
“It opened a lot of opportunities for me to be trained to help communities and lead,” she said.
Supporting those in need
Following the training she has helped people with disabilities become aware of their rights and she has helped elderly people get information about claiming their social pension.
“My dream is for us to effectively reach out to those who are in need,” exclaims Mama Pita.
“I am thankful but at the same time I am already thinking about the things coming our way,” she said. “Based on the results of the monitoring, there is indeed a lot of work to do to reach out and organise.
“My dream is for our group to be a strong, stable, and capable network of CSOs, to help the government and other social protection advocates.”
This case study was produced with financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Philippine Consortium on Social Protection and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.