Stories of building back better after Yolanda, told by ADB Consultants & Partners

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

189 PLAN-ADB/JFPR Scholars Enter BCAT

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11AUG2015. One hundred and eighty nine young hopefuls from various places in Leyte and Samar arrived yesterday at the Balicuatro College of Arts and Trades (BCAT) in Allen, Northern Samar to enroll in various TESDA certified courses.


These kids are part of the 200 out-of-school youths who made it to the scholarships offered by Plan International with funding from the ADB JFPR Grant 9175 - Emergency Assistance and Early Recovery for Poor Municipalities Affected by Typhoon Yolanda (ADB Project no. 47338). These scholarships are part of Plan International's many interventions under the said grant, that includes among others building/repair of schools, livelihood projects, DRR Training, Cash For Work (CFW), Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT).

Now called "PLAN-ADB Scholars" by BCAT faculty and staff, these 189 youngsters will take on various TESDA certification courses such as 'Front Office Services', 'Housekeeping', 'Household Services', 'Bread & Pastry Production', 'Food & Beverage Services', 'Automotive Servicing', 'Motorcycle & Small Engine Servicing', 'Refrigeration & Aircon Servicing', 'Electrical Installation & Maintenance' and other such courses that will equip them with the right knowledge and skills to be employable or to be able to start their own businesses.

"It was not an easy ride for most of these kids" said Rudilee Labastida, the Plan International Community Development Facilitator who brought scholars from Kananga, Leyte. "Many of them are not used to long land travels on board air-conditioned vans. They still felt dizzy and uncomfortable, even with the "travel-sickness" tablets we gave them"!

But all mustered the strength and composure to arrive at their "home for the next 3 months". Mostly departing early dawn, the fleet of vans only started arriving at BCAT between 5 and 6PM yesterday, where the scholars still had to attend a briefing, rooming assignments, distribution of mess-kits, and finally their first dinner at BCAT only at about 8:10PM. And they even still were able to group and organize themselves by electing their very own set of officers!

On Tuesday, 11 August, the kids were all up early for breakfast and the 8AM actual enrollment to their respective courses followed by an Orientation conducted by the BCAT Officials and Faculty, still with the presence of Plan International Staff and an ADB Consultant. After lunch, they excitedly met their course instructors for their "first day in school".

Divine Bandola, Plan International's Eastern Samar Area Team Leader, intimated assurances that they (Plan International) will always be around to inspire and guide these youngsters to become successful. Asked how complex and tiring this whole activity of altogether 'herding' 189 kids from many barangays hundreds of kilometers away, Nelson Oquias, their ATL for Western Samar & Leyte said "it is such a taxing responsibility, but when you think forward to the end-in-view, the physical and psychological exhaustion are but fleeting and temporary".

We'll cover more of this 'adventure'!

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