Stricken with polio when she was a year old, Teresita Enumar had both arms and feet clubbed that her family’s poverty barred from medical treatment. But rather than grow up a liability, she willed and lived to be independent and even have a family of her own. Later separated from her husband, she supported her 2 children by selling kakanin and other snack foods. Her 29-year old son is now a baker and has his own family while a 15-year old daughter is in high school. While keeping watch over her 7-year old grandson, she does her peddling snack foods at the boy’s school.
In 2015, Teresita became a model when she and a group of women from her village in Barangay Tiblawan, Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental went through an asset-based community development process to map out their own resources and capacities that they can maximize to enhance their livelihoods. The process became smoother with her example of being physically disabled but still utilized all her other physical faculties to be able to support herself and her family. This group later formed the Women of Nature Desire Enhancement Role (WONDER) and became a partner of E-CARE Foundation in its livelihood program. Actively participating in this program, Teresita harnessed her ability to sew as an additional livelihood and proceeded to make rags, clothes and other items using her old sewing machine.
When the covid-19 crisis closed the school where she was selling, she focused on sewing which she can do at home and teamed up with another WONDER member, Leila Estillore, to make face masks for workers at a nearby banana plantation. When the Foundation learned about this, its staff sought additional markets for the two ladies’ breathable water repellent masks. Despite the difficulty of travel, the staff arranged for some of these masks to be purchased by Brent Hospital in Zamboanga. Other buyers were also engaged. Teresita’s earnings from sewn face masks enabled her to provide for the basic necessities of her family. She also did minor repairs in her house so it wouldn’t be dusty when she’s sewing as well as repaired her old sewing machine. She hopes her face mask production will continue so she can buy a new and modern sewing machine and be able to cope up with the increasing demand for her sewing work.