Like countless others in her community, Jesusa Altamera was no stranger to poverty. It was a constant struggle to provide for her three growing children. Her husband, Gilberto’s, wages wasn’t enough to cover to their daily needs as a family and with school fees on top of that, they were in dire straits. When Jesusa fell ill and none of her relatives were able to help her, she vowed to herself that she and her family would not live in destitute for long. In 1999, put up a tiny sari-sari store with her PhP1,000 loan. Profits were reinvested into the sari-sari store and Jesusa began offering her customers a wider range of products. She used a PhP6,000 loan to become a soft drinks wholesaler which added a considerable amount to her monthly income to budget for her family and the business. With each loan, Jesusa calculatedly entered into other businesses including the trucking business and small sugarcane farms. As of 2009 Jesusa’s loans increased from PhP1,000 to over PhP150,000 used as revolving capital for ventures that earn her more than PhP20,000 a month. She employs a little over 50 employees and is teaching her children, especially her eldest son, how to run the business. Jesusa has also made sure she has savings and an emergency fund. “I will always work hard. Because of extreme poverty, not even my relatives could afford to help me long ago. Hopefully, my children will never have to experience that.”

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