A mother of four, Velinda recalls working day in and day out as a reflexologist some years ago so she can send her children to school. She and her family were among those who relocated to Rizal after Typhoon Ondoy hit the country in 2009. Despite the hardships of finding work, add to this the challenge of being new to the community, Velinda continued to strive harder.
Now already retired from doing reflexology services, Velinda is one of the beneficiaries of the CEMEX Information Technology (IT) Training Center for unemployed individuals and out-of-school youth in Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City— the largest barangay in the Philippines.
Velinda plans to put up her own computer shop upon completion of her one-year computer course at the CEMEX IT Center.
According to her, the reason why she joined the program is because she wanted to learn more about IT networking. “To help augment my family’s income, I thought of putting up my own computer shop and with my troubleshooting skills, I won’t need a technician anymore,” she said in Filipino. “I’m sure I could learn a lot of stuff here and it’s all for free!”
Velinda is one of the 300 out-of-school youth and high school graduates who are now attending classes at the IT Center.
The CEMEX IT Training Center currently has qualified Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) trainers as instructors. Participants in the program will receive a TESDA certification once they have completed the course and passed the evaluation. This certificate will come in very useful especially when they apply for work.
Graduates of the program also get equipped with a lot of other skills like maintenance of IT network systems, computer repair, setting up of servers, and troubleshooting. Aside from IT courses, the center also offers English classes to help the students improve their communication skills.
Another recipient of the program is Irish Beth Natividad. Irish shared that she wanted to help her parents in sending her younger brother to school. “All that I’m learning here, I can definitely use to find a better job to help them,” she said.
“In our neighbourhood, many were not able to go to college. That’s why knowing how to operate the computer is very important nowadays since computer literacy is a standard requirement,” said Irish. “I will definitely share what I’ve learned here to my community so that I can help them enhance their capabilities and improve their lives as well.”
Both Velinda and Irish have since expressed their gratitude to the local government unit of Antipolo City and CEMEX Philippines for their optimism and support to the out-of-school youth and unemployed members of the community.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity given to us. This will definitely better our lives. The chance to study again is really a big help for us because the knowledge we will be armed with will benefit us in the long run. They taught us how to sustain ourselves, to become competitive individuals who will be able to, comparatively, catch our own fish and not just depend on other be able to live well,” Velinda ends with a smile.
Ariel Yson, community relations officer of CEMEX’s Solid Cement Plant, shared how the training center was conceptualized. “The local government through the barangay approached us to ask for support in the construction of the two-storey training center. We immediately said yes because helping build education is really close to our hearts.”
CEMEX Philippines took care of financing the cost of the school building while the local government took care of staffing the center with qualified trainers.
According to Ariel, the first floor of the center will also house the Rizal Quarry Academy where courses on mining engineering, responsible quarrying, and sustainability management will be offered.
For him, public-private partnership is essential to achieving better results for the community. “We would like to thank our Barangay leaders, local government officials, and most especially, our community members for this opportunity to serve,” he said.