A life-changing opportunity
He never thought he would become a teacher.
Rolando Nueva, a resident of Brgy. San Juan in Kalayaan, Laguna Province used to work as a barangay tanod and manage a small carinderia with his wife to sustain the needs of their family.
Though he wanted a stable job, especially that he is supporting seven children, Rolando struggled because of his educational background.
“Napakahirap po para sa akin noon ang makahanap ng trabaho na may maayos na sahod dahil hindi po ako nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Pero para po sa pamilya ko, pinipilit ko pong dumiskarte para may maipangkain kami sa araw-araw,” Rolando shared.
That is why, in 2018, when he heard that there is a skills training activity on masonry, carpentry and scaffolding that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is offering through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Rolando did not think twice to seize the opportunity.
“Isa po ako sa unang-unang nagpalista sa aming barangay dahil alam ko pong makakatulong ito. Kahit po marami na akong experience sa paggagawa, maganda pong mas mapag-aralan ko pa ito at may maiuwi akong certificate,” explained Rolando.
The skills training is one of the modalities of the SLP that capacitates individuals to help facilitate gainful employment.
Gaining skills for employment
Rolando and his fellow trainees attended a 30-day training in St. Peregrine’s Institute in Bacoor Cavite. Under this skills training program, all of their expenses, including their allowance, were paid by the DSWD.
“Napakagandang experience po nito para sa amin. Dito ko po nalaman na hindi po pala basta-basta itong trabahong ito. Kahit po mga maliliit na gawain, kailangan po pala itong ma-practice nang ayos para maka-comply sa standards,” Rolando shared.
At the end of the training program, Rolando was delighted as he was given two options on how to proceed. One is to apply in construction companies or to become a teacher at the institute. Honored, Rolando chose the latter.
“Napakasaya ko po kasi po kakatapos ko pa lang po, may nakaabang na agad sa aking trabaho at hindi ko po inaasahan na ang trabahong ito ay sa pagtuturo. Hindi ko po pinangarap sa buhay ang pagtuturo, pero isa po itong malaking karangalan para sa akin,” Rolando shared.
Rolando took teaching courses and additional courses on construction sponsored by the institute. Currently, he has multiple national certificates and one of his highest academic achievements is an NC III in Carpentry. He is also now a TESDA-accredited teacher.
“Ako po ay naengganyong mag-training nang mag-training dahil po sa kagustuhan kong magkaroon ako ng maraming opportunity sa trabaho tulad ng mga nakapagtapos,” Rolando said.
Two years in his teaching job, Rolando has already gained substantial work experiences. He has been deployed in several places across the country such as Bohol, Tarlac, Pampanga and other towns in the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions.
What made him more fulfilled in this job is how he is able to help his students who share the same experiences as him.
Among his students were SLP participants like him as well as detainees from a prison in Cavite Province. Most of them ended up gainfully employed in the construction industry while some were also absorbed as a teacher in the institute.
“Dahil po sa aking trabaho, napalago ko pa po ang aking kaalaman at experience sa larangang ito. Kung dati po ako ay nahihiya dahil mababa po ang pinag-aralan ko, ngayon po ay may kumpiyansa na ako sa sarili at marunong na po akong humarap sa iba’t-ibang klase ng tao,” Rolando shared.
Opportunities to improve their living condition
Despite the pandemic, work continues for Rolando as he is deployed in Pampanga for the construction of their new training site. Meanwhile, back at home, positive changes have already happened. Recently, Rolando was able to build a concrete fence around their house from his earnings. He was also able to buy his children cellular phones for their online classes.
“Wala pa man po akong malaking naipupundar, masasabi ko pa rin pong umasenso na ang aming pamumuhay dahil may aasahan na po akong regular na sweldo para sa aming pang-araw-araw. Napakalaking ginhawa po ngayon kumpara noon na araw-araw kaming namomroblema kung saan kami makaka-extra,” Rolando said.
Looking back at his life, Rolando could not believe that there would be an opportunity like this for someone like him who was not able to finish high school.
“Marami pong salamat sa DSWD at sa programang SLP sa pagbibigay sa akin ng ganitong pagkakataon para mapaunlad pa ang aking sarili. Dahil po sa tulong na aking natanggap, hindi na po hadlang para sa akin ang kawalan ko ng diploma sa paghahanap ng regular na trabaho at pag-angat sa amin sa hirap,” Rolando shared.#
The Sustainable Livelihood Program is a poverty-alleviation program of the DSWD that aims to uplift the socio-economic well-being of the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged through the provision of livelihood resources and opportunities. Among its modalities is the employment facilitation track which offers skills training activities to help program participants become more eligible for various employment opportunities.#