Pregnant in her teenage years, Sheena Marie Eusena of Sevilla, Bohol felt she was in the pits and had nowhere to go. She was forced to stop attending school as more and more people talked about her condition.
Technical-vocational education (tech-voc) opened the window of opportunity to her after she enrolled in a food processing course and finished it with flying colors. Soon after, she took baking and pastry production and got a National Certificate. This paved the way for her first job in a bakeshop.
Saving around P45,000 from her earnings, she was able to buy her own baking equipment and set up her own bakeshop, which she now runs with her family.
But there's no stopping Sheena. After two tech-voc courses, she enrolled in commercial cooking.
For all her feat, she was recognized as the Batang TESDA awardee, which is given to tech-voc graduates who become role models to her fellow youth.
In his visit to Bohol last March 4, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva expressed high hopes that many more young people who have experienced crisis could rise above the challenges like Eusena.
"Not one life is worth wasting. The young people should be able to turn to something that would boost their self-worth, and that's where tech-voc education comes in," Villanueva said.
"Tech-voc will teach the youth the right skills, and with this, they can go up high the ladder and be productive members of the community," he added.
At Bilar, Bohol, Villanueva witnessed the graduation ceremony of a total of 1,448 scholars. Those who have finished the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) were also given tool kits to help them jump-start their livelihood activities.
For 2015, TESDA had allotted an initial fund of P19.77 million to 1,897 beneficiaries through the following programs: Training for Work Scholarship Program, Private Education Student Financial Assistance and the Bottom-up Budgeting.
Overall, Region VII or Central Visayas, which includes Bohol, has a total scholarship allocation of P129.72 million that would benefit close to 15,000, he said.
The event also highlighted the ceremonial awarding of scholarships to beneficiaries of Abot Alam program, a convergence of the national and the local government that targets to map the country's out-of-school youth and enroll them in appropriate program interventions in education, entrepreneurship and employment.
Bohol, led by Governor Edgardo Chatto, was one of the early implementers of the Abot Alam program. Last March 4, the province's HEAT I.T. Bohol Caravan was also rolled out to render services to specific towns.
The caravan, a collaboration of the local government, private sector and government agencies, focuses on Health and Sanitation, Education and Technology, Agriculture and Food Security, Tourism and Sanitation and Information Technology. END