Back to School Blues: Rising Prices, Troubled Mothers

Nanay Caring, 30, wakes up at five in the morning everyday to prepare her goods. For 14 years now, she has been selling school supplies at Divisoria, where thousands of people come in search of the lowest prices.

This summer, however, sales have not been quite good. And as the country continues to suffer from the global economic crisis, Nanay Caring, like many other Filipino mothers are faced with huge financial troubles – especially with the new school year approaching.

Rates up
Even those who troop to Divisoria cannot escape the reality of rising prices. According to Nay Caring, price of school staples such as pad papers, notebooks and coloring materials have all gone up, creating a dilemma for vendors who want to earn some profit, but do not want to drive away the already few buyers.

She adds, some are even complaining that her prices are now almost similar to those in the popular bookstores in malls. But Nay Caring has no choice. From where she acquires the stocks, rates are also increasing each year.

At this point, Nay Caring smiles as she shares an ironic fact. She sells school supplies, but for her six-year old son who’s entering Preparatory school this June, she has prepared the cheapest, admittedly low-quality set.

Her fellow vendor, Nay Gladys, lets her son and daughter share some materials, like eraser, ruler, crayons and glue. Nay Gladys sold shoes and bags for two years, but moved into school supplies because of the less amount of capital needed.

Making ends meet
Nay Caring and Nay Gladys are just two of the millions of Filipino mothers struggling to make ends meet and contribute to the family income. Nay Caring’s husband is a factory worker in Malabon, while Nay Gladys’s husband is a tricycle driver.

With no prospects of a wage increase, or of financial aid from the government amid the grave financial crisis, it is a bleak future awaits their families, and of almost 90 million Filipinos as well.


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