- Posted January 25, 2013 by
Makati City, Philippines
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Girls + Education: Your message
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The Story Of A Single Mom Who Finished Two Technical Courses
Miss Ronalyn Bulalaki Villamor is 24 years old and a single mom. She’s from the province of Masbate here in the Philippines. She finished secondary schooling even though her family wasn’t financially-stable then. She acted as a babysitter for her aunt to get some financial support when she was studying in high school. She got pregnant after finishing high school. Her boyfriend, the father of her child, ran away from her. Hence, she started working at an early age because she became a mother when she was just 17-years old. When she turned 20 years old, her aunt convinced her to study technical courses at TESDA.
TESDA is Technical Education and Development Authority (TESDA) here in the Philippines. TESDA is mandated by law in the Philippines to integrate, coordinate, teach, spread and monitor skills development programs; develop middle-level manpower and develop an accreditation system for institutions involved in middle-level manpower development; approve skills standards and tests; fund programs and projects for technical education and skills development; and assist in training programs for trainers. TESDA offers technical courses that last from 2 months to one year depending on how difficult or easy the courses are. Among the technical courses being offered by TESDA are computer repair and programming, care-giving, cosmetology, reflexology, commercial baking, culinary arts, PC Network installation and maintenance, and others.
Those who can’t afford college education in the Philippines are the ones who usually enroll at TESDA. TESDA has training schools nation-wide and many high school graduates in the Philippines who aren’t in college usually go there to study technical courses.
Ronalyn Villamor (Bulalaki is her middle name), studied 2 technical courses at TESDA. She finished advanced culinary arts and cosmetology. She was able to borrow some money when she was 21 years old and put up a small beauty salon. She also put up an eatery when she was 22 years old. She’s now doing good in both businesses.
24-year old Ronalyn is now an entrepreneur. She was able to help her younger sister get college education. She is also providing tuition for her 7-year old daughter who is now a Grade 1 student. She helps now in financially supporting her aunt who helped her financially when she was in high school. That aunt of hers was also the one who persuaded her to get technical education at TESDA. Ronalyn said, “TESDA helped so many out-of-school youths in our village gain technical or vocational education. I'm now convincing many out-of-school youths in our village to enter TESDA and get technical courses there. Such would pave the way for many out-of-school youths in our village to get certain kind of education that will give them livelihood opportunities. Such livelihood opportunities will give us chances to get college education. There is always an opportunity to succeed in life. We just have to make it happen.”
Ronalyn is also aspiring to get college education this year. She is planning to take either business administration or economics. She said to me that she is about to enroll this March in a university. Ronalyn wants to pursue a college degree in commerce so that she can efficiently manage her 2 current businesses.
Ronalyn said, “My biggest challenge when I enrolled at TESDA was how to balance my time between taking care of my child who was 3 years old then and studying a technical course. Also, I was working as a part-time call center agent back then that I was a little bit scared if I can finish a technical course. But I did finish 2 technical courses at TESDA in spite of my busy schedules as a part-time call center agent and as a single mom back then. Now that I’m about to enter college, I know I must strive harder because college education is quite expensive. But as I have said, there is always an opportunity to succeed in life. We just have to make it happen.”
(NOTE: The interview on Ronalyn was conducted last November of 2012. It was during the meeting for ‘Decent Jobs For Filipino Youth’ that such interview occurred. I was invited then by the organizers of the meeting to attend the said conference since I’m a blogger. The conference was sponsored by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency and UNICEF (United Nations’ Children’s Fund). The conference was about giving Filipino youth the opportunity to gain technical education and skills and, at the same time, provide them with decent job opportunities. The conference was also about helping Filipino youth in remote areas get decent education. Many non-government organizations attended the conference. The conference was held in New World Hotel at Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines. I interviewed about 3 graduates from TESDA about their ‘success-stories’ for my blog. I wasn’t able to post Ronalyn’s story on my blog due to time-constraints. But when I saw the iReport assignment about women empowerment and girls’ education some few days ago, I decided to post Ronalyn’s story on the said assignment. I did the sub-titles on Ronalyn’s interview. I think her story would be a great inspiration for girls and women out there who are facing challenges in getting decent education.)