After Typhoon Haiyan hit Rosalie’s home in the Philippines, the single mother and her two daughters were left with nothing. She was turned away after seeking refuge in the home of an aunt; the supplies she borrowed from a cousin to try to rebuild her home were taken away; and, her income from manicure and pedicure services were not sufficient for her family.
Most nights, she felt helpless and cried herself to sleep. With two young daughters to raise, she sank deeper into despair, until International Care Ministries (ICM), one of Rise Against Hunger’s distribution partners, stepped in to help.
With lessons from ICM, and meals from Rise Against Hunger, Rosalie was able to turn her life around. Armed with strength and determination, her life was transformed and she become self-sufficient to not only support her family, but to save money for her future.
While heartaches and despair had been in Rosalie’s life for so long after the typhoon, it only took 16 weeks in the Transform Program run by ICM for Rosalie’s life to change. ICM, who distributes the meals, reports that a key part of that program was a weekly supply of Rise Against Hunger meals. Rosalie said that the food packs kept them from starving. With the rice, soy and vitamins as a base, she cooked congee, a rice porridge with eggs and other ingredients found in the garden.
Rosalie says she was thrilled to be invited to join the program, and she began learning lessons on values, health and livelihood, she started to practice them. When Rosalie learned how to cook rice cakes, she focused on building a new business. At dawn each day she starts to cook kutsinta (sticky rice cakes) and puto cheese (rice cake with cheese) and sells them around the neighborhood. Her diligence and hard work paid off quickly, as Rosalie was able to save enough capital to start her own store. She still cooks puto cheese and kutsinta but only to service orders made by her customers. In addition to supporting her family, Rosalie is now able to save, too—something that was impossible before. With her savings, Rosalie plans to connect electricity to her home.
Apart from being able to provide for her daughters, Rosalie also learned to take better care of them. She and her daughters have become more conscious about maintaining hygiene, which includes regular bathing, hand-washing and brushing their teeth. She found SODIS (Solar Distillation) very helpful, and uses it to make their drinking water clean and safe.
Despite her triumphs, Rosalie remains humble as she knows she got this far through the kindness and help of others. Food helped turn around Rosalie’s life — first to sustain her family, then to provides a means to support herself. “I am thankful,” she says, “because they encouraged me to stand on my own.”