Second chance for Manilyn and Chrislen
Manilyn, 20, and Chrislen, 24 could hardly believe that they have finally moved the tassel of their graduation cap from right to left. They’re finally graduating after taking the vocational training with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Both women hail from Bukidnon, one of the provinces in the country with high poverty incidence. They did not know each other prior to becoming part of World Vision’s project that seeks to address the root cause of low income among poor families in the Philippines.
Throughout the program, they forged a bond and are now each other’s support system. They are alike in many ways, they said.
Manilyn and her 1-year old daughter Jirah
Manilyn has her 1-year old Jirah while Chrislen has her 2-year old Kent. They do not regret having their kids but if given a chance to go back in time, they would have had tried their best to finish college.
“I married when I was 18. I was on my second year in the university but when I got pregnant, I had to stop,” said Manilyn. She comes from a poor family but her parents tried their best to provide for her education. She initially planned on going back to school after giving birth but she eventually opted to look after her child.
Chrislen at Graduation Ceremony in Cagayan De Oro
Chrislen, on the other hand, was on Grade 10 when she stopped schooling. Her parents could no longer support her. She tried to help herself but the kilometers of the road she has to traverse going to school alone got her. At 19, she got married to a man who would, later on, stop showing up to her and their child.
Manilyn and her family during her Graduation Ceremony at Cagayan De Oro
In 2016, World Vision started the Women Empowerment project with the premise that unemployment makes the youth, especially young women vulnerable to exploitation. In partnership with several government agencies including TESDA, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 200 women from Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon who were exploited and are at risk of exploitation are provided with vocational training for industries like baking (bread and pastries), tailoring, beauty care and cookery. They are further trained in financial literacy, entrepreneurship seminars, costing and pricing orientation, food processing training.
Manilyn who took a bookkeeping course and Chrislen who took up housekeeping are among the graduates last July. They have also passed for the national certification for their chosen field, which gives them the edge when looking for work.
Chrislen and her 2-year old son Kent
“World Vision, through its partnership with key agencies, is also helping me find work. I am excited because I can now provide for my Kent and I’ll make sure he finishes his education,” said Chrislen.
Manilyn, on the other hand, is excited to start her work as a bookkeeper at a local factory. Her certification has allowed her to land a job in Bukidnon and she is now able to help her husband provide for their growing family.
“The best thing about having this certification is having the options to find employment within the province. As much as possible, I want to stay near my family so I can look after my child as she grows up.”
Written by Joy Maluyo, World Vision/ June 1, 2018