Friday, January 15, 2016

TDI-Magdalena Alumni: Where are They Now?

Five alumni of the CCT Training and Development Institute (CCT-TDI) in Magdalena, Laguna are now instructors at the newly opened TDI campus in Rodriguez, Rizal!  Here is the story of one of those young men, Niel Sususco.  

Niel grew up in Davao, the middle of three children of an electrician and a sari-sari store owner.  His mother was (and still is) a community partner in CCT’s microfinance program.

In 2012, an offer was made exclusively to male family members of CCT community partners to study at TDI. Niel was employed then at a banana plantation as a packer and dispatcher after having finished a two-year agriculture course.  Although due for a promotion, he resigned, thankful for a chance for further studies. He joined the campus’s second batch of students.

Niel completed the plumbing, electrical and masonry courses in a year, and was invited to join the TDI staff as an administrative officer and cashier. One of his earliest assignments was procuring basic construction industry hand tools and transporting these to Tacloban City where other TDI staff were training survivors of Typhoon Haiyan how to rebuild their houses.  Later on he worked on document requirements needed to secure government recognition for the TDI campus in Rodriguez, Rizal.

Starting January 18 2016, he will teach Electrical Installation and Maintenance at TDI Rodriguez.

Niel says he is grateful for the spiritual nurture he received at TDI. “I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ through the ministry of CCT,” he says. “Back in Davao I used to join illegal motorcycle drag races. I started to use marijuana at 17.  All that is in the past now. My perspective on life has totally changed.”     

And Niel's hopes are high: in a few years he hopes to go back to college and study to become a civil engineer.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Former Street Kids Begin New Phase in Life

From left: Patrick Leano, Jervie Magat, a friend,
Allan Regota
No one watching Jervie Magat, Patrick Leano, and Allan Regota jubilantly tossing their graduation caps into the air would have guessed that just six years earlier, these good-looking young men wandered Manila’s streets aimless and desperately poor.

Patrick was just ten when he and his mother began living on the streets near Rizal Park. His parents had just separated. Soon, influenced by other street kids, he began to smoke, drink, and get ‘high’ by inhaling wood glue or solvent fumes. 

Allan’s parents separated due to a financial crisis. He, his mother, and a sister born after the separation soon found themselves on the streets.  The siblings had to often beg for food.   

After Jervie’s father died, his mother had to sell their house.  When the money ran out, Jervie,  his mother,  stepfather and three stepsiblings all had to live on the street. 

Patrick’s and Jervie’s paths crossed when they began attending CCT’s feeding program and Bible studies for street dwellers.  Here they heard the Gospel and were told that there still was hope for them. Later they and their families were given temporary shelter at the Kaibigan Center in Pasay, where Allan and his family were also being housed.  Here the families received counselling, were discipled, and the adults were trained for jobs.

Some time later the children were brought to study at the Visions of Hope (VOH) Christian School in Puypuy, Bay, Laguna.  Patrick, Jervie, and Allan, since they were older, were later on sent to the VOH residential school in Magdalena, Laguna. Here they attended Alternative Learning System (ALS) classes and eventually earned grade school and  high school diplomas.  

Their horizons expanded as they learned new skills and developed their talents.  They learned the habits of obedience, reverence, discipline and self-respect when they joined the Boys’ Brigade. Patrick even got to travel to Singapore to represent the VOH Boys’ Brigade in a conference there.  Above all, their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ grew firm and strong. 

In June 2013, all three boys began attending a two-year course in hotel and restaurant services at the Angelita V. del Mundo Foundation.  In April 2015 they donned graduation caps and gowns and joyfully received certificates of completion.  They are set to gain further training in this field by working part-time with the food and beverage department of the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center and they look forward to further studies, supporting themselves through four-year degree courses. 

Shortly after the graduation ceremony, on Facebook, Patrick posted a picture of himself wearing a graduation gown, and in three short sentences expressed what must have been in the minds of his friends and all those who saw them grow and develop over the past few years: “Dati wala nang pag-asa.  Pero ngaun eto na ako.  Salamat sa Diyos. (I’d run out of hope.  But this is me now. Thank God.) ”

Friday, August 8, 2014

Former Street Kids Earn Cookery Skills

Young men from CCT's residential school proudly show their cookery course certificates. 

Twelve of the young men cared for by the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) at its residential school in Magdalena, Laguna have gained cookery skills after attending a Bayan Academy course.They also passed the related competency assessment of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), earning national certification 2.

"What a blessing this is," enthused Ruth Callanta, CCT president and founder, after the graduation ceremony. "Who would have thought that these boys, who just a few years ago lived on the street, can now prepare and cook several international dishes!Nothing is impossible if you believe in God," she added, reflecting on the transformation undergone by the young men.

The cookery course is part of Bayan Academy's Entreprenuership Education for Community Development program sponsored by J.P. Morgan and held in partnership with TESDA and CCT. The intention of this program, according to the Bayan website, is that trainees armed with both a technical vocation and business management knowledge become 'technopreneurs' fully equipped to establish their own income and employment generating enterprise.

The young men learned cold kitchen fundamentals such as the preparation and production of sandwiches and salads, and hot kitchen recipes such as soups and main dishes. Among the main dishes they can now make are risotto and paella. They also learned how to make pastries and desserts such as cream puffs, baklava, and mousse.

According to Arthur Aguinaldo of Bayan Academy, the TESDA national certificate 2 that each of the young men earned is a plus point for future employment because it is recognized by local and international employers and  is the same certificate also sought by graduates of high-end culinary schools.
Ruth Callanta, CCT president and founder, signs
certificates while two happy graduates look on. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

CCT TDI Holds Second Commencement Rites

Forty young men recently graduated from TDI’s building construction and maintenance course, and 79 others were recognized for completing study hours and requirements for some of the subjects (masonry, plumbing, electrical installation and maintenance, and carpentry) composing the two-year course.

Eleazar Palma, son of a banana vendor from Davao, gave a speech on behalf of all the graduates speaking of dreams coming true.  He received awards for leadership, diligence and responsibility.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How to Get to the CCT TDI Magdalena Campus from Manila

From the South Luzon Expressway: 

Leave the expressway at the Calamba exit.  Drive along Real Road then turn right at the Calamba national highway. Drive along this highway  passing through the towns of  Los Banos, Bay, Victoria, Pila, Sta. Cruz, and Pagsanjan.  About 1 ½ kilometres past the Pagsanjan welcome arch you will cross a small bridge after which stands an Iglesia ni Cristo church building on the left.  Turn right across from this church and drive straight ahead for the next four kilometres.  When you get to the unpaved portion (landmark: Von Welt gate) the campus will be about 200 meters away.  After a small paved portion and more rough road, watch for the CCT TDI wooden gate on the left.   

Note: If for some reason you miss the iron welcome arch and come to the stone welcome arch, simply turn around.  The Iglesia ni Cristo church will be on your right.  Turn left on the street across from the building and follow the rest of the directions above.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TEE Attendees Visit Magdalena Campus

Participants in Transformative Economic Empowerment (TEE), an international training session for micro finance workers, visited the Magdalena campus of the Training and Development Institute (TDI) of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) to get an overview and feel of CCT’s ministry among out-of-school youth and unemployed or underemployed males.  TEE is a joint activity of CCT and the Ka-Partner network, a consortium of US-based organizations ministering to the poor. 

 The TDI campus in Magdalena, Laguna offers a two-year vocational / technical course called Building Construction and  Maintenance with competencies in electrical installation and maintenance, masonry, rough carpentry, and plumbing.  It is also a boarding school for a second set of students – male, former street dwellers between the ages of 10 and 19.  (The boarding school for former street dwellers is being overseen by the Visions of Hope Foundation, which, along with TDI, is a member of the CCT Group of Ministries.)

Ruth Callanta, CCT founder and president, said the training session allows the sharing of CCT’s best practices and stories,  benefiting the poor of other nations. The TEE attendees were from Sri Lanka, Peru, India, Moldova, Zambia, Kenya, Thailand, Uganda, and the US. The main theme of this gathering was leadership and vision, and spiritual integration in micro finance. Speakers included CCT Chairman Bertram Lim, Ruth Callanta, and social anthropologists Dr. Melba Maggay and Dr. Miriam Adeney.   

The founding members of the Ka Partner network are endPoverty, Five Talents, Hope International, and Peer Servants. 

After viewing a presentation about programs and services offered at the campus, listening to the testimony of one  of the students, and touring the buildings, many of the guests enjoyed some shooting practice with members of the campus soccer team. 

The main venue of the training session was the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center in Tagaytay City.