Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rey Mark Pangilan: On the Path Out of Poverty?

Rey Mark Pangilan draws plumbing equipment in one of his classes at the Center for
Community Transformation Training and Development Institute.  

Farmer's Son. "I'd like to help my family," says Rey Mark Pangilan, 20, a new vocational-technical student at the Center for Community Transformation (CCT)  Technical and Development Institute (TDI)  in Magdalena, Laguna. This is the answer one would expect to hear from any of the 31 new students  studying rough carpentry, plumbing, electrical maintenance, and masonry when asked what they hope to do when they finish their one-year course.

A full-blooded B'laan, Rey Mark is the fifth of seven children of a farmer who plants corn, and only the second person in his family to study beyond high school.

Even  finishing high school  was not easy, he says. "I had to hike one hour from my house  every school day to get  to the nearest high school."

The B'laans are an  indigenous group who live in  Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, and Sarangani.  They are known for their colorful native costumes and intricate beadwork but at the same time are economically disadvantaged.

Rey Mark is enrolled at TDI as a scholar of the Visions of Hope Foundation, a member of the CCT Group of Ministries which has been working among the B'laans of Sarangani since 2003.  His classmates come  from other poor communities in the Visayas and Mindanao.  

Master Key. Technical and vocational education is seen by international experts as ‘the master key that can alleviate poverty.’  While many Filipinos look down on jobs that require manual labor TDI believes numerous opportunities are out there for those willing to work with their hands and sufficiently trained to do so. For instance, while machines are fast replacing jobs in factories and on farms, houses and other buildings still have to be built by human hands.  In fact according to the latest labor market study of the Department of Labor and Employment jobs as masons and carpenters are hard-to-fill occupations in the Philippines, while positions as plumbers are in demand abroad.  

Alongside  technical training and on-the-job learning,  TDI  provides classes, programs and activities meant to help the students grow deeper in their relationship with God.  Students  attend daily morning devotions,  Saturday worship services  with members or beneficiaries of other CCT programs in the area, and regular Sunday worship services.

So is Rey Mark on the pathway out of poverty?    If he keeps believing things can change for the better, if, by God's grace, he puts in the huge effort needed to pursue learning,  then his desire to help his family -- improve the quality of their lives, send younger siblings to school, and provide for his parents as they grow old --  can surely come true.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Former Street Kids, Future Soccer Champs?

Is CCT raising some future soccer champions? With God nothing is impossible!   Boys who used to live on the streets but who are now part of the boarding school program of Visions of Hope Christian School are getting trained in the world's most popular sport. Of course joining the national team and playing in high-level matches also requires daily practice, healthy habits, focus, dedication, and years of hard work.  
But who knows? One of the boys in these pictures could some day play for the Philippines.  Right now they compete against other teams in the town of Magdalena in Laguna.  Here they are warming up, stretching, doing drills, and playing practice games at the Magdalena campus of the Center for Community Transformation Training and Development Institute. 

The Binhi Junior Soccer team with German coaches David Kananizadeh and
Maximilian Alex Haubensak (wearing glasses) and Pastor Jun Tolentino (right). 
Photos by Michelle Taway