Friday, May 17, 2013

CCT's Mardy Cabalo is 2013 Thurman Awardee

Mardy Cabalo, a community partner of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Savings and Credit Cooperative  Araneta, Quezon City branch is the Hope International Thurman awardee for 2013. She is a dealer of beauty products.

The Thurman Award recognizes microfinance and savings partners who demonstrate the values of perseverance, compassion, strength of character, and creativity. It was established in honor of Eric Thurman, the first CEO of Hope, and his wife Pennie. Hope International  is a ministry partner of CCT based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA.

One of the judges said, “Mardy demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit, is others-focused, and expresses a love for Christ through her work.”

Mardy’s story is one of triumph over difficult circumstances. 

She was just 12 when her mother, a handicrafts dealer, passed away. Her father, who had seldom been at home anyway, remarried within that same year, leaving Mardy, the middle of three children -- and yet the most mature emotionally -- to look after her siblings.

“Wala akong inaayawang trabaho.  Andiyan yung magbubuhat ako ng palay, ng mais para may maipakain sa mga kapatid ko.  Pagdating ko sa high school tumutulong ako sa mga teacher kapalit ng pagkain namin.” (“I wasn't choosy with jobs. I would carry sacks of rice or corn if I had to, to be able to feed my siblings.  I would help my high school teachers in exchange for food.”)

Her father’s desertion left Mardy with a deep hurt in her heart.  Then God sent Christian missionaries to the town where they lived and  she came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit  began helping her deal with her feelings of resentment.  

Mardy was in her late teens when she was told that it would be easier for her to raise her siblings if she were to get a job in Manila. She moved to the city and worked at a series of low-paying jobs: as  helper at roadside eateries, as sales clerk for a bakery, and other simple jobs. She continued sending money home to help her younger sister.   

Soon she married a friend from high school. Even after four daughters came, their home was always open to relatives coming to Manila needing a place to stay while they looked for jobs and got established in the city.

Meanwhile Mardy’s daughters had begun school.  As is often the case with stay-at-home moms, Mardy brought the girls to school and would wait until it was time for them to go home.  To pass the time she sold beauty products to other waiting mothers. 

Also around this time she began attending CCT fellowship meetings in her neighbourhood.  After all her years in Manila, Mardy had not found a church family.  What drew her  mainly was a chance to attend Bible studies again, and not just an interest in joining the co-operative for additional business capital.  She decided to become a member of the co-operative  only when she learned that scholarships were offered exclusively to children of members. 

From there Mardy decided to keep her direct selling business going, expanding her network of dealers to about 40 women. It was a way of helping other mothers who, like her, lived on very slim budgets. She also became involved in CCT’s work, opening her home as a venue for meetings and Bible studies, and inviting other micro entrepreneurs to join the co-operative. Today she finds joy in serving God by leading a group of women actively involved in community work such as feeding sessions and medical missions.  

Whenever she recalls not having the love of a father when she was young, Mardy still gets teary-eyed, but God’s love has allowed her to forgive. After he was diagnosed with a heart problem a few years ago, she has faithfully paid for his maintenance medicines, clearly demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus. 

Watch Mardy tell about her life in this short presentation:

Mardy and eldest daughter Chloe May.
Mardy with three younger daughters
Hannah, Jodeline, and Jesusa.

Mardy with her husband and a nephew whose parents
live with them. 

Mardy in a once-a-month mentoring meeting
with business mentor Carson Tan...
...and with Ruthie  Monterde (left), CCT area servant leader.

Photos:  Michelle Taway

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