Mindanao Times

Jan Irene’s storybook life in adversity turns around

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LIVING in a humble bamboo hut, left by her parents with her three siblings, Jan Irene faced life’s challenges when she was twenty-three years old. But even before she was left by her mother, she was already helping to raise her siblings as her father had abandoned them, leaving nothing.

“It was in April 2005 when my aunt (my mother’s sister), who worked in a factory in Japan invited me to go to Japan, using a Visiting Relative Visa. I worked for some time without a working visa, but I learned much from the experience and helped me save some funds when my visa expired.”

“Although discourage­d that I could not stay longer, I was able to build a decent house in Davao City with my savings. I was able to buy appliances such as a refrigerat­or, a TV set and other items we needed.”

“It was also in 2005 when I met my partner. I was still feeling depressed because I wanted to stay longer in Japan. But maybe it was destiny. A week or two after my arrival in Davao, I met Jack. I frequently went to the internet cafe, just chatting and with the intention to meet someone, preferably a foreigner. But our online chats became more frequent and developed into a romantic relationsh­ip and we became closer. It was in December that year that we made our relationsh­ip official. It was Jack’s mother who helped me enroll at Samson Vocational school in Davao City, taking up HRM. I graduated in 2010.”

That same year, Jan Irene started selling items online. She says she was just a pioneering seller on Facebook, from RTW clothes to replica bags to authentic bags until she started selling jewelry. From 2010 to 2015 Irene’s source of income to provide for her siblings was selling replica bags. She kept on looking for other items to sell because of the stiff competitio­n. “It was really tough at that time”.

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