New Bataan, Compostela Valley (DSWD XI) – “Sa wakas makasuot na gayud ko og toga (Finally, I can wear a toga),” Quirina delos Santos, 48, one of the beneficiaries from the municipality of New Bataan, was ecstatic while donning the academic gown and cap lent by the Endonela Institute of Technology Foundation, Inc. during the graduation ceremony of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at New Bataan Gymnasium, Compostela Valley last June 6.

Kahibaw na ko magbuhat og cake ug ice cream. Manganlan na sab nako ang mga ingredients pati ang mga gamit (I have learned to bake cake and make ice cream. I can as well name the ingredients and the tools to use),” Nanay Quirina proudly boasted.

In fact, during the final assessment conducted by a specialist from TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), she landed second in her class. “Wala nay pa-edaray karon. Naa ra na sa imong diskarte (Nowadays, age won’t matter anymore but it’s one’s ingenuity),” she explained.

Nanay Quirina, a high school graduate, had badly wanted to pursue college but didn’t have the financial resources to help her in achieving it. “Lisod muskwela sauna kay wala gyud ka-kwarta-kwarta akong mga ginikanan (It was hard to pursue schooling since my parents were financially hard up).”

Now that she has earned an NC II for Cookery, she eyes to work abroad along with her sisters currently working there. “Maong mapasalamaton kaayo ko sa DSWD kay kung dili sa ila dili intawon ko maka-graduate sa Cookery (That is why I am so grateful to DSWD. If not for DSWD, I wouldn’t have finished the Cookery course).”

Nanay Quirina, is one of the 25 graduates of Cookery NC II along with 50 more graduates from Shielded Metal Arc Welding NC II and Heavy Equipment Operator – Hydraulic Excavator NC II technical vocational courses who also received starter kits for their respective livelihood skills during the ceremony.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program is a community-based capacity building effort that seeks to improve the beneficiaries’ socio-economic status through Micro-Enterprise Development and Employment Facilitation. (DSWD)