DAVAO CITY (DSWD XI) – Behind her smile and enthusiastic demeanor lie some misgivings of the past. She is Joan Enopre, 18, one of the students who availed the Government Internship Program (GIP) under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) this year.

Incoming third year under the course Bachelor of Science in Social Work at Holy Cross of Davao College, Joan is one student who strives hard to stay in school and meet her school needs as well.

Bag-o ko na-GIP, usa ko ka working student in a fast-food chain duol sa eskwelahan namo. Kini ang nakatabang sa ako nga makasustento ko sa akong pag eskwela (Before I got the GIP slot, I was a working student in a fast food chain near in our school. This work kept me in school),” Enopre said.

Enopre manages her time wisely. She participates in school extracurricular activities and is also active in chapel activities.

Early challenges

At an early age of six, Enopre became a foster child. She was declared a foundling child at two months old, rescued from a road side in Babak, Island Garden City of Samal.

She was nurtured and cared for by Elisa Cabrera, 70, a widow with six children of Brgy. Bucana, Davao City.

Foster care is the provision of planned temporary substitute parental care to a child by a foster family duly licensed by DSWD.

Blessed ko kay naa koy inahan karon nga nag atiman, nagpadako sa akoa nga murag tinuod na anak. Bisan sa iyang edad karon dili na niya kaya mu-trabaho, ginatabangan nako siya aron dili siya malisdan sa akoa (I am so blessed because I have a mother who looked after me and raised me like her own child. At her age now, she is physically weak to work. I am helping her so she won’t be burdened with me),” Enopre gratefully shared.

Enopre was abused by her Japanese foster parents who took custody of her prior to Cabrera.

Naningkamot jud ko karon, wala na nako gina isip ang mga ni-agi na. Basta ang ako karon mabuhi ko og maka-eskwela (I am really working hard now and I refrain from thinking of what happened in the past. My aim is to survive and be able to attend school).”

She dreams of becoming a licensed social worker so that she can share her knowledge to children like her and relate her life struggles to them.

“Pasalamat ko ani nga program kay nagahatag sila og opportunity sa mga bata nga homeless ug nanginahanglan og gugma sa pamilya. Gusto ko i-share sa ila kung ma social worker ko nga instead nga i-hate ang kinabuhi, maningkamot ug mag succeed (I am thankful for this program that gives opportunity to homeless children who need the love of a family. I want to share with them when I become a social worker that instead of hating life, they should work hard and aim to succeed).”

GIP stint

At DSWD, Enopre was assigned under the Adoption Resource and Referral Section of the Protective Services Unit.

“My GIP days were memorable. No matter how hard or difficult my task was, I was able to do it because the employees and other interns were supportive and cooperative.”

“I learned to deal with different people and work professionally.  I also learned to value obedience as a public servant.”

GIP is one of the services offered to young people under the Unlad Kabataan Program (UKP) of DSWD. UKP focuses on total development of disadvantaged youth in terms of spiritual, economic, physical, psychological, cultural and social.

GIP is part of government’s efforts to strengthen youth participation in nation-building by exposing them to government service and capacitating them on life skills. It also serves as recruitment mechanism for potential public employees, on top of providing financial assistance for school enrolment.

This year, 80 GIP youth participants completed the 22-day summer internship with DSWD. (DSWD)