« They confiscated my cell phone. Some weeks, I have to wake up at 3:30AM to prepare the breakfast of the 90 students of this building. I hardly go out anymore and I haven’t seen my family for weeks.
Still, I have never been so happy and so proud of what I am doing!”
“We work very hard, explains Rodelyn, 17 years old. Especially the first 1.5 years, because we learn everything from scratch. Honestly, there is so much to study that even if I had a phone, I would not even have time to use it! ” she confesses with a big smile . “But when I look back at all I learnt, I am really proud; and in only a few months I’ll be interning in a big I.T. company!”.
Her classmate Carmillo shares her enthusiasm :“the training is very intense, but all the educators are very supportive. They are always encouraging and guiding us”. Both of them laugh at the memory of their early days, at some of their friends discovering a mouse and clicking on a key board for the very first time in their life.
The two students are proudly representing their other 158 classmates who have been selected by Passerelles Numeriques for a 3-year intensive training in Information Technologie (IT). For those very poor Visayan kids, the course is a golden opportunity to find a qualified job and secure a future out of poverty.
At the entrance of the main lobby, a panel announces the weekly duties of the students. Living in PN centre is also about participating in the daily tasks of the community:
“Living at the centre means much more than studying” explains Helene Huard, PN Director. “I believe that the object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throught their life, not only with books and computers. We aim at teaching them how to be part of a team, assuming responsibilities, developing their self esteem and respecting each other.
Those teenagers are more than future IT professionals. They are future leaders, parents, responsible citizens. They have an incredible potential, I am so proud of them!” she said.
As anywhere in the Philippines, the videokaraoke can’t stay away too long … In spite of the heavy work schedule, there is always a time to get together and have fun! “One can always find something to celebrate, a birthday, a graduation, a job. Those kids become part of my family. We even celebrated my fiancailles altogether!” shares Helene;
At Passerelles Numeriques, hard work is a two way street. Students get back what they put in:
Last month was the graduation ceremony of 86 students. 95 % already secured a job. They will earn 2-5 times the local average revenue. Last but not least, they will be able to improve the live of their families, enabling younger brothers and sisters to study as well. Pahalipay! 🙂
More about PN in the Philippines : http://www.passerellesnumeriques.org/philippines/