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Just add water

If Jose Rizal could see what the youth of Somiorang village were doing today, he would be patting himself on the back. Johaina Awar, the youth sector representative of the Somiorang community working group was manning their water refilling station one day and was more than willing to tell us their community’s story.

Long before the siege, the citizens relied solely on farming as their source of income, but once the guns started shooting and the bombs started exploding, like every other barangay in the area, they were forced to leave. When they came back, however, there was nothing left for them to salvage.

What were they going to do now? Farming has been their main and only livelihood for as long as they could remember, and now in a blink of an eye, it was all gone.

Thankfully, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KoICA) made their way into their barangay and held a community meeting identifying the needs of each sector as well as electing the best representatives for those sectors. 

Johaira shared that choosing officers was a challenge because not everyone was up for the task. That being said, they had to make sure that whoever they were, they would prioritize the CWG at all costs. Afterall, this decision would not just affect themselves, but the entire community as well.

As with every one of their beneficiaries, the officers went through a grueling five-month training period where they were taught the ins and outs of business and entrepreneurship. Finally, the officers decided that a water refilling station would best cater to the basic needs of the people. As it just so happens, a deep well was located in Somiorang and they intended to utilize it as their source of livelihood.

Johaina Awar, the youth sector representative of the Somiorang community working group, narrates the story of how the water refilling station business of their group thrives. (JCC/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

Business opportunities were looking bright when not only people from their barangay availed their services but citizens from neighboring villages too. This influx of consumers inspired them to make a little promo for their product – everyone from Somiorang village would get a discount on their orders, and before they knew it, they were selling out faster than lemonade on a hot summer day.

Of course, all this was not without its fair share of challenges. The first trial they had to conquer was the training period itself. IOM-KoICA is known for its strict training, and this caused a little drama when infighting ensued among the officers regarding their dedication to their responsibilities. But thankfully, words were exchanged, rough edges smoothed out, and everyone went back to their main goal – promoting and sustaining their business.

Their sense of community is undeniably one of their main driving forces, and their innate need to give back is palpable to anyone who even so much as sets foot within their barangay. It’s clear that the members of their community working group, as well as their stakeholders, are invested in rising above their hardships as a community and how fitting it is that they chose to establish a water refilling station. For where there is water, there is life, and where there is life, hope continues anew. (PJF/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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