Lao Foundation and Its Business of Helping Others

LaoTo eradicate poverty and deliver accessible education have always been a challenge in the development of the country. Across generations, leaders vowed to bring the poverty index down, but the problem remained daunting. Thus, many Filipinos are deprived of education, especially youth and children from poor sectors. 

Luckily, a significant number of organizations dedicate themselves to provide avenues and opportunities for low- income families to access the kind of education they deserve. These foundations work hard to ensure that the poorest of the poor will not be looked over or treated unfairly when it comes to education opportunities. 
On top of the list is the Lao Foundation (LFI),  DSWD- and PCNC- accredited corporate social responsibility arm of D&L Group of Companies. The Lao Foundation has been operating for 10 years now,  and has 11 partner organizations. 

Dualtech Training Center is one of them. 

Mr. Carlo Racela, Program Officer of LFI, was invited by TESDA on a radio show at DZAS to talk about their partnership with Dualtech Center and their involvement in promoting value- driven education in forming skilled and morally upright workers. 

“Our partnership with Dualtech is about 4 years old,” Mr. Racela started. “That would mean four batches of Lao Foundation scholars.”
As a foundation, he mentioned, they are in the business of helping others. More so, the heart of its corporate service. “Ang pinaka- nag- stand- out sa partnership namin with Dualtech is the value of character. Pagpahahalaga na hindi lang grades ang importante, but what has been effective ay ang pagpapahalaga nila sa kanilang characters,” he said. 

This, according to him, is the living testament that what they are doing in the foundation, in institutions like Dualtech Center, is effective. 
LFI supports the first six months of its scholars in food, lodging and tuition expenses. After that, the scholars will have their in- plant training at Dualtech’s industry partners one of which is their affiliated company, D&L Polymers and Colours (DLPC), an export processing company in Canlubang, Laguna dedicated to deliver engineered polymers and colors for plastic industry. 

“Dahil naging partners na ang Dualtech at DLPC, mas na- close namin ang loop in terms of our education- to- employment investment sa aming mga scholars. Yung values na nakukuha nila through their education, [naiaapply nila at] nakukuha na namin,” he said. 

In another part of the interview, Mr. Racela shared how happy the whole team of LFI to receive positive feedbacks from the plant managers about the performance of their scholars. 
One of his favorites is the story of how Dualtech- LFI scholars, after one to two months, revived a production line which has not been running for a very long time. “That is a clear manifestation na magagaling sila [the Dualtech scholars], at naiaapply nila ang natutunan nila.”

LFI has been generous to provide get togethers for their scholars. During these close encounters with the scholars, Mr. Racela shared that he is touched how humble the scholars to admit theirs are not an easy path. 

“These are high school graduates. These are young adults. Lalayo sila sa support system nila. Nahirapan sila sa umpisa, halos ayaw na nilang magpatuloy. Pero feel namin, at least sa perspective ng foundation, doon nabi- build ang kanilang character,” he narrated. 
He added that through these hardships and sacrifices, whether big and small, they will develop a sense of self- reliance and perseverance until they can get a stable job. 

When asked about how he sees this partnership going, Mr. Racela is hopeful to witness a Dualtech- Lao Foundation scholar who will be holding a relatively high position in the future. That, for the people behind Lao Foundation, is their greatest contentment: to see a young boy transforms into someone who shares the same passion as theirs in helping people. 

“We are hoping on the foundation side na slowly, the other companies under DNL group will be accredited as well and be partners with Dualtech,” he concluded. “Ang daming opportunities: madaming puwedeng pasukan ng Dualtech scholars in the future.”

The fight against poverty in the country will still be a long, tiring run. But the direction to get there is crystal clear because of the initiatives and philanthropic cause Lao Foundation has started in reshaping the socio- economic landscape.