One of the flagship programs of SM Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the SM group, is its scholarship program. Aside from the college education offerings, the program also provides venues for students who would like to pursue a career in the skilled labor industry.
The gradual reopening of the economy not just in the country, but around the world, brings hope to more job opportunities for Filipinos who lost their jobs because of the health crisis. Indeed, the support for individuals eyeing to be part of the skilled industry is needed now more than ever.
It was in this light when SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), together with SM Foundation (SMFI), Don Bosco One TVET Phils. Inc., and the city government of Pasay partnered to give educational support to 20 deserving youth coming from Pasay. To date, SMFI has already produced more than 4,500 tech-voc graduates who are now gainfully employed.
A dream to be fulfilled
One of the current SM tech-voc scholars from Pasay is Stephen Parina. His dream is to put up his own automotive shop since aside from his interest in cars and motorcycles, he intends to uplift the economic status of his family. Both of his parents are temporary employees at the Pasay City Hall.
“Nakita ko sa Facebook post ng SM Foundation na nandun ang aking gustong course kaya dali-dali akong pumunta sa city hall ng Pasay para alamin ang mga detalye nito at kinabukasan ay nagpasa na ako agad ng mga requirements,” said Stephen, who is now studying Automotive Mechanic course at the Don Bosco Makati.
“Gusto kong matuto kung paano mag ayos ng mga sasakyan at makatapos ng pag-aaral dahil hirap kami sa aming pamumuhay. Alam ko na makakatulong ang edukasyon, kagaya ng techvoc upang matupad ang aking pangarap na makapagpatayo ng sarili kong automotive shop. Magiging susi ito upang mai-angat ko ang antas ng pamumuhay ng aking pamilya” he added.
“Taos pusong pasasalamat sa SM at sa Sy family dahil nabigyan nyo ako ng pagkakataon na makabalik muli sa pag aaral. Hinding hindi ko ito malilimutan. Dadalhin ko ito hanggang sa aking pag tanda,” Stephen said.
Ticket to success
Another current tech-voc scholar is Jeorge Angelo Madrid. He is also studying Automotive Mechanic course at the Don Bosco Makati. His father works as a painter of houses and buildings while his mother works at the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Jeorge is the youngest and most of his five siblings already have their own families.
According to Jeorge, he sees this opportunity of going back to school as his ticket towards achieving his dreams: “Nag-apply ako sa SM Foundation kasi wla po akong kakayahan na makapag aral at makapagtapos. Wala po akong pagkukuhanan ng pang tuition para maipang bayad sa eskwelahan.”
Jeorge is adamant to find gainful employment right after he finish his studies. “Salamat po sa SM Foundation. Kung hindi dahil sa inyo, hindi madaragdagan ang kaalaman ko tungkol sa automotive. Magagamit ko ito sa aking paghahanap ng trabaho at kinalaunan, masuportahan ang aking sarili, mga pamangkin at ang aking mga magulang,” Jeorge further shared.
Reaping the fruits of his efforts
Anthony Andales, an SM tech-voc scholar alumnus, also took the time to share his inspiring story. He graduated from the Dualtech Training Center in 2019 and is now employed as a staff technician in a known company that manufactures various electronic products for home and office use.
“Bago ako mag-training sa Dualtech, nagtrabaho muna ako bilang isang helper sa isang refilling station. Ang aking arawang sweldo ay P220 lamang. Akala ko dati, wala na akong mararating sa buhay at hindi na makapagtatapos ng pag-aaral,” Anthony recalled.
“But God gave me the privilege to be chosen as one of the SM Foundation scholars para makapag-aral ako nang walang binayaran kahit piso. Ang tanging puhunan ko lang ay ang aking lakas ng loob at ang aking mga pangarap sa buhay na balang araw, makatutulong ako sa aking pamilya upang kahit papano ay makaahon sa buhay,” he further added.
Right after his on-the-job training, he was absorbed by the program’s OJT- partner company and was given a job as a staff technician because of his skills and work ethics.
“Napagawa na namin ang bahay kahit papaano, hindi man bato pero at least maayos at safe kapag may bagyo. Hindi po kagaya dati na pag umuulan ay may pa-shower kami kasi butas-butas na ang bubong at tagpi-tagpi ang dingding ng aming tahanan. Walang imposible kapag ikaw ay may pangarap at determinasyon upang maabot ito sapagkat maraming tao at institusyon na handang tumulong. Kaya sobrang thankful po talaga ako sa mga taong tumulong sa akin para magkaroon ng maliwanag na kinabukasan.” Anthony concluded.
SM Foundation, through its Scholarship program, provides deserving and qualified students with access to college education and technical-vocational studies since 1993.