MANILA – A private company has rolled out a youth development program focused on children from disadvantaged families near its planned development sites across the country as part of its advocacy to help improve learning outcomes and increase their chance in life.
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) President Ramon S. Ang said the SMC Educational Assistance Program will benefit some 292 elementary, junior high, high school and college students in the communities. which it serves in Bulacan, in the province of Quezon, in Batangas and in the city of General Santos.
“Sustainability is a big part of not just our new projects, but all of San Miguel’s operations. For our communities this is even more critical, which is why over the past two years we have been very proactive in implementing social and environmental initiatives at our future project sites, well before any construction not be carried out. These programs are part of our holistic approach to improving the lives of those who will be our future host communities and partners,” Ang said in a statement released on Sunday.
He said the program was piloted in Sariaya, Quezon, where SMC built a model sustainable housing relocation village, with disaster-resistant houses, recreational and learning facilities, a complementary fishing wharf and a multipurpose centre, and a managed and operated public market. by fishermen and farmer-beneficiaries of the village.
The program is currently benefiting some 43 students in Sariaya, whose parents have also received entrepreneurship and various skills training from SMC, through a partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Building on the success of the pilot program, the company has also launched the SMC Education Assistance Program for 81 beneficiaries in Bulakan, Bulacan, where it is set to construct the New Manila International Airport (NMIA).
Meanwhile, a total of 129 primary, secondary, tertiary and college students are also benefiting from the program in Calatagan, Batangas.
In General Santos, a total of 39 junior, senior high and middle school students were included in the program.
“We are well aware of the difficulty of continuing online learning during the pandemic. ” says Ang.
However, with the same determination to provide better and safer housing, livelihood and skills training, and additional sources of income to beneficiaries, he said their social development teams use their experience of working with people. communities nationwide, to help parents and their children deal with the challenges they face.
“I hope we can prepare them for a better future and take advantage of future opportunities in our developments,” Ang added.
SMC’s planned agro-industrial complex at Sariaya includes a brewery, grain terminal, flour mill, ready-to-eat food manufacturing plant, high-tech poultry facility, fuel tank and port facilities.
SMC’s educational assistance includes a monthly stipend for internet access and values-training seminars aimed at transforming beneficiaries into future community leaders.
Responsibilities of Educational Assistance recipients include regular submission of academic results, participation in various SMC greening programs, and tutoring duties to other residents as part of the ESL or alternative learning system.
Of the 43 student beneficiaries of Sariaya, 12 are currently in college studying various courses including criminology, electrical engineering, information technology, business administration, education, accounting, hotel management and in Civil Engineering at various local colleges and universities in Quezon Province.
According to Ang, despite the challenges of online learning, as well as the life difficulties they face on a daily basis, all of the recipients managed to maintain their high grades.
“Noong una nahihirapan kami dahil hindi pa sanay in stable hindi dahil system of internet connection pero kalaunan is always din and patuloy na kinakaya. kinakaharap ko challenge sometimes has internet connection which can be humihina to stress at school and at the thesis (We had difficulties at the beginning because we were not yet used to the system and the internet connection was not stable yet but later we got used to it and we continue to follow. The challenge I face is sometimes slow internet connection and the stress on all the school projects and the thesis),” said Michelle Morong, who is in her third year as a BS education student at Southern Luzon State University (SLSU).
“Kinakaya and kakayanin pa. Nung una talagang mahirap the online class from wala akong sariling cell phone may not be used by kapatid ko or di kaya on pinsan ko. Pangalawa hindi stable yung signal kasi wala akong sariling wifi kaya medyo magastos rin sa load ang online class (I am able and I will continue to be able to do it. At the beginning, the online course was really difficult because I don’t have my own mobile phone and I only borrow from my brother or cousin. Second, the signal was unstable as I don’t have my own wifi so I have to spend a lot on charging for the online course),” said Criselda Contreras, BS student in Entrepreneurship at Dalubhasaan ng Lungsod ng Lucena (DLL).
The students expressed their gratitude for SMC’s efforts to help their families and expressed the hope that one day they could find jobs when the SMC facilities are finally built, or start their own businesses, or work for the government. to serve others.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako his assistance from San Miguel. Dahil dito mas maaabot ko yung na opportunities available at kung ano man, est pangarap ko rin magkaroon ng sariling business (I am grateful for the help of San Miguel. Thanks to this, I can seize the opportunities that come my way, and it is also my dream to have my own business)” Arabella Manalo, second year student in business administration at SLSU, said.
Ang said access to education is a basic right for young people, even with all the limitations brought by the pandemic.
“And with an educated and equipped workforce as SMC’s development partners in these areas, we are well on our way to achieving sustainable development and post-pandemic economic recovery,” he said. he adds. (RP)