Lao Foundation Continues Grant Initiative with 3rd, 4th Batch of Scholars
Since 2015, the Lao Foundation has opened many opportunities for deserving young men enrolled at Dualtech Center by giving them financial aid to finish the two- year Electromechanics Technology program. Through Lao Foundation- Dualtech scholarship program, it has helped 31 graduates and 39 trainees from Batch 1 and 2. Towards the start of the 3rd quarter of 2018, they continued their advocacy by helping 3rd and 4th batches, 20 and 24 scholars respectively.
Sharing Family Inspiration
Leaving family in the province to realize one’s dream is a hard decision, especially if you are the eldest son, with parents not living under one roof, and attending to the needs of three younger sisters. This is the case of Mr. Jericho Fernandez of Calasiao, Pangasinan.
The 18-year old STEM graduate needed to act as both mother and father to his younger sisters, making sure that their monthly allowance, sent by his father working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was within budget. According to him, instead of focusing in his studies, he was constantly worried how they would eat each night, or what should he do in case one gets sick.
That is why leaving them to their “lola” in their province to find his luck at Dualtech was a hard and heavy decision.
“At first, maiyak- iyak pa rin po ako. Na- ho-home- sick po ako lalo na at ngayon lang ako nalayo sa aking mga kapatid. Pero napag- isip- isip ko na hindi lang to para sa akin, kundi para rin sa pamilya ko,” he narrated. “Yun na lang ang naging motivation ko para magpursugi dito sa ginagawa ko.”
But, however motivated he was, there came a point that he almost gave up. Besides missing his siblings so much, he was financially challenged because the allowance given by his father was not enough to make both ends meet for his needs.
Luckily, through the dedication and perseverance he has shown, he was recommended to be one among the 20 Lao Foundation scholars. These scholars, with more or less the same situation and passion as he is, are from Bohol, Batangas, Camarines Sur and Bukidnon.
“Sa edad ninyo, alam kong madami na kayong hirap na pinag-daanan,” Ms. Erika Lao, Head of Operations of the Foundation stated during recognition of Jerico and 19 others last October 3. “Pero kung kayo ay may inspirasyon sa family o kamag- anak, kayo naman ang inspirasyon namin kung bakit namin ginagagawa ito ngayon. Nagpapasalamat kami sa inyo dahil kung wala kayo, hindi rin kami mabibigyan ng pagkakataon na matulungan ang mga kagaya ninyo.”
Jerico’s starting months probably were full of worries and anxieties on the condition of the family he left in Pangasinan. But, the family values Lao Foundation has shared to him have strengthened his desire to be the beacon of hope for his younger siblings.
Supporting Education Excellence
Emmanuel Bolo of Del Gallego, Camarines Sur regards himself as one of the advocates of academic excellence. His steadfast passion to learn has brought him to a private secondary school in their locality, with full academic scholar status since Grade 7. He maintained this until his senior high years, which he outstandingly finished under General Academic Strand program.
However, his desire to pursue further studies was fading as he looked to the current condition and struggles of his parents. As much as he wanted to enroll in Civil Engineering with his high school classmates, he knew for a fact that this also entailed higher expenses- something his father, a coconut farmer, and mother, a lowly housewife, could not afford.
“Ang pangunahing kinabubuhay po ng pamilya namin ay pagko-kopra. Walang-wala po talaga kaming mapagkukunan. Kahit gaano ko kagustong makapag-aral ng kolehiyo, mas nanaig sa akin ang aking kagustuhang matulungan muna ang aking mga magulang,” he recalled.
Still confused and hesitant as to what would be the next step he needed to do, he went to church and prayed. He asked God to guide him, and teach him to fully embrace His will for him. And just like a strike of a lightning, his prayers were answered when at that exact same day, staff from Community Relations Office of Dualtech Center were also there giving orientation about their offered dual training system.
He traveled to Calamba, Laguna carrying a hope of a better opportunity. While at the Basic Stage Program, he persevered, constantly feeding his mind of new concepts, maximizing each moment to learn something new- beyond electrical, electronics and mechanical. He browsed every file at the school’s e-library, jotted down principles that interest him. All these, while deepening his spiritual life and weaving a clear vision of himself in the future.
His unwavering love of learning was recognized, and he was included among the Batch 4 of Lao Foundation scholars- composed of 24 chosen trainees, specifically sons of coconut farmers. This is an effort of the foundation to recognize the coconut farmers who contributed to the success of its one of donor companies, Chemrez Technologies.
“Napakalaking tulong po ng Lao Foundation Scholarship sa akin. Wala na halos babayaran sina Mama sa aking tuition, kaya hindi na sila namomroblema lalo at nag-aaral pa rin po doon ang apat ko pang mga kapatid. Nagpupursigi po akong makatapos bilang pagtanaw ko ng utang na loob sa lahat ng mga taong naging dahilan kung bakit ako naririto ngayon,” he said.
For Emmanuel, there are still skills yet to learn, books to read and training yet to experience. And the extended help of Lao foundation serves as the fuel in keeping the fire of his remarkable regard in learning his chosen profession.