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Modern-day Sheroes
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07 March 2017 Modern-day Sheroes

Written by: Danica Q. Pacardo

As we celebrate Women’s Month, we are putting the spotlight on she-for-she modern-day heroes—women volunteers who are making this world a more enabling place for fellow women.

First on our list is Ms. Yolanda Canseco Hernadez, our recent Search for Oustanding Volunteers 2016 awardee who has consistently advocated for women empowerment with her active membership in the Girl Scout of the Philippines (GSP) and the Soroptimist International Founder Club (SIFC). Blessed with literary talent, she celebrates herstory through writing inspirational articles on women who have done extraordinary things and through authoring various GSP history books. Ms. Canseco-Hernandez has also touched the lives of the then-little girl scouts in the 1970s that she mentored through the Junior Journalist Guild (JJP), a program she initiated in 1977 and was eventually institutionalized in different councils of the GSP. Since then, the JJP has produced media practitioners and professional writers. Even now in her prime years, she continues to create opportunities for women to learn and maximize their potential through organizing trainings on livelihood, productive retirement, and health and wellness through the SIFC.

Members of the Lake Sebu Indigenous Women Weavers Association, Inc.(LASIWWAI) are doing their share in promoting women’s important role in the preservation of cultural heritage. LASIWWAI is a community-based organization which utilizes social entrepreneurship and volunteerism to improve the lives of T’Boli women and children. Through the T’nalak enterprise, LASIWWAI not only augments the members’ income and improves the community’s social condition but also advocates for the sustainability of the transfer of knowledge and skills on weaving among the T’boli tribe. The organization has also inspired other women volunteers to constitute Mothers for Peace (MPC), a group of 150 mothers who are not skilled in weaving but who are willing to help LASIWWAI conduct organic farming and feeding activities. Together, LASIWWAI and MFP have become partners in the implementation of development projects in their community.Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) like Ms. Lily Mayos and our 2014 Search for Outstanding Volunteers regional awardee Elgin Rafanan play a significant role in assisting women on their pregnancy and educating them on key family concerns like nutrition and health and wellness. Based in Atok, Benguet, Lily treks mountainous areas to conduct house-to-house visits for women and other residents to monitor their condition and encourage them to avail of the free health services in their community. Due to the limited funding in their local health unit, Elgin goes out of her way to network with other organizations to be able to mobilize additional resources for pregnant and lactating mothers in her hometown in San Mateo,Isabela. As family women, they have become part of the support system for the women in their communities.

Yolanda, Lily, Elgin, and members of LASIWWAI and Mothers for Peace are examples of countless modern-day sheroes who are making change work for and benefit fellow women. This Women’s Month, we salute and thank every women volunteer from different regions and sectors. Mabuhay ang mga kababaihan para sa pagbabago at bolunterismo!

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