DSWD program helps out-of-school youth pedal his way to success

At 3:30 am, while most teenagers are still fast asleep, a teenaged boy is already up and about preparing for yet another day to get closer to his dreams.

With just a small lamp to illuminate his surroundings, Yves Florence Rembon, 17, tested the gears of his bicycle that he would use to travel along the rough and bumpy roads of Barangay Sampiruhan in Calamba City, Laguna to sell pandesal.

As he pedals on the road, he hopes that he would be able to sell his bread. He earns P20 for every 100 pieces of pandesal that he sold.

Come afternoon, he is on the streets again, this time selling merienda in the neighborhood.

Despite the time and effort he devotes to his two jobs, Yves does not take these as  burden but rather as opportunities.

His mother, a plain housewife, and his father, a jeep dispatcher, cannot support his college education.

“Mula noong nalaman kong hindi ako makakapag-aral ng college, naisipan ko na lang maglako ng pandesal at merienda. Ayoko rin kasing maging pabigat sa magulang  ko. Mas gugustuhin ko pang mag-sariling sikap para makaipon ng pang-aral ko sa college (Ever since I found out that I would not be able to get to college, I decided to sell pandesal and snacks. I do not want to be a burden to my parents. I would rather work on my own so I can earn money to support my education),”  Yves said.

Unexpected opportunity

One of Yves’ neighbors, Lucila Carpio or Tita Lot, as she is fondly called, noticed his eagerness to study.

“Matalinong bata itong si Yves. Scholar nga siya noong high school. Kaya noong sinabing magkakaroon ng librengvocational trainings ang Kalahi-CIDSS sa aming lugar, siya agad ang naisip ko kasi alam kong gustong gusto niyang makapag-aral  (Yves is a smart boy. He was a scholar when he was in high school. That was why when vocational trainings were offered through Kalahi-CIDSS in our area, I thought of him immediately because of his desire to study),” Tita Lot shared.

Tita Lot is a volunteer of Japan Social Development Fund-Livelihood for Vulnerable Urban Communities (JSDF-LVUC) Project under the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the main poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Kalahi-CIDSS was a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD), a strategy that puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions on locally identified options for development and manage resources to implement sub-projects that address needs identified by communities themselves.

Kalahi-CIDSS has since been scaled up into the National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP), which targets 847 of the poorest municipalities in the country.

Primarily reaching rural poor communities, the program began its urban CDD pilot in 2012 through a US$3 million grant from the JSDF-LVUC.

The grant is intended to help support the urban poor through the provision of livelihood trainings, as well as in infrastructure sub-projects that would address the most pressing needs of targeted communities.

Brgy. Sampiruhan in Calamba City, Laguna was one of the 69 communities included in the urban CDD rollout through the partnership between KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP and JSDF-LVUC.

Through the project, unemployed individuals, most of whom are out-of-school youths, are provided trainings on mechanical, electrical, and technical services as well as dressmaking, beauty care, housekeeping, and food and beverage services.

Through the JSDF-LVUC, Yves was able to take up Automotive Servicing because of his fascination and interest in cars. It was through the course, which ran from March 13 to June 13, 2014, that he learned car overhauling, under chassis repairs, and power steering.

“Tinuruan pa nga po pala kami ng basic driving. Nakakatuwa kasi na-experience ko na agad mag-drive kahit bata pa lang ako (They even taught us basic driving. It was nice because I got to experience how to drive even if I am still young),” Yves shared.

The vocational training was given by Don Bosco College-Canlubang, one of the partner- schools of Kalahi-CIDSS.

Being a Catholic school, the trainees attended additional classes on Christian living and personality development. Yves shared that through these, he learned good manners and proper communication with people. He was also trained on how to present himself well and talk confidently in front of a crowd.

“Palagi nga po akong napapakiusapan na magsalita tungkol sa experiences ko. Nasanay na rin po ako at hindi na nahihiya. Dahil sa mga natutunan ko, nagkaroon ako ng sapat na self-confidence (They always ask me to speak about my experiences. I grew used to it so I am no longer shy about speaking. I have gained self-confidence because of what I learned),” Yves proudly narrated.

Driving toward his dreams

After three months of training, Yves is now a graduate of Automotive Servicing vocational training.

He attended the DSWD job matching fair at Biñan City, Laguna where he submitted his application. He was accepted by one of the leading automotive companies. He started working on August 2014.

Yves shared that with his new job, he is able to apply what he learned from the training given by DSWD.

He said that he has started saving up for his sibling’s college education.

His brother, nine-year-old Mark Lester, a Grade 3 student, is a scholar at the same school where he graduated high school.

“Ayoko po na tumigil ang kapatid ko sa pag-aaral tulad ng nangyari sa akin (I do not want my sibling to stop schooling like what happened with me),” he said.

“Kaya ngayon pa lang ay pag-iipunan ko na ang pang-college niya (That is why as early as now, I am saving up for his college education),” he continued.

Yves, too, has not given up on his dreams for himself.

He said, “Kung kakayanin, pag-iipunan ko rin po ang pang-college ko para makapag-aral pa rin ako ng four o five year course (If I can, I will also save up for my college education so I can take up a four- or five-year course),” he said.

He shared that he wants to be a mechanical engineer in the future.

For Yves, one should always have a clear positive outlook in life to make dreams come true. He held on and believed in the importance of education and how it can change his life, and he used this as a motivation to see that his ambitions transform into reality.

Yves firmly said, “Masaya ako at nabigyan ako ng ganitong pagkakataon dahil naniniwala ako na ang edukasyon at kaalaman ay hinding-hindi mananakaw sa atin kailanman (I am happy that I was given this opportunity because I believe that education and knowledge can never be taken away from us).” ###