November 14, 2023
Tzu Chi’s Tech-Voc program awards welding, caregiving scholarships to 26 beneficiaries
By Joy Rojas
To cap off its 29th anniversary last November 4, Tzu Chi Philippines awarded 26 beneficiaries of its Technical-Vocational program with scholarships for courses in caregiving and welding.
As part of its Mission of Education, Tzu Chi’s Technical-Vocational program provides economically challenged individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to help them secure jobs that will hopefully end years of living in poverty. Classroom and hands-on trainings are complemented with Humanity classes, which instill values that will serve them well at work and in life.
Scholars who have graduated from Tzu Chi’s Tech-Voc courses in caregiving, welding, machine operations, computer servicing, air-conditioner and refrigerator servicing, call center training, and executive assistant training have gone on to work for the likes of Sykes Enterprise, Alorica, Concentrix, Philippine General Hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, GU Engineering, Commanche Steel Corporation, Nihonweld Industrial Welding Corporation, Electro Aire, Mac Ref, Topmark Steel Corporation, and more.
After two years of monitoring creeks for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (a job that pays little and takes up only a few hours of his time), Anton Elcarte was eager for more stable work. “Not to keep transferring,” he says. “To have what I can say is a regular job.” Completing a welding course allows him to apply for work here and abroad, where skilled welders are in such high demand.
So, when volunteers went to his community in Payatas, Quezon City, and asked who was interested to study vocational courses, Anton didn’t have to think twice. “I have two babies,” says the 24-year-old father of a 4-year-old and 3-year-old. “This is for my family.”
Family also motivated 23-year-old Gia Reboldad from Navotas to apply for Tzu Chi’s Tech-Voc course in caregiving. With her eldest sibling married, the second-born Gia took it upon herself to help her truck driver father and stay-at-home mother support her three younger siblings.
Her job as a call center agent wasn’t enough. Constantly broke despite working for almost three years, she felt her luck change when she chanced upon a Facebook post from Tzu Chi announcing it was accepting applicants to its Tech-Voc program.
“To be honest, I always dreamed of being a nurse or anything related to the medical field,” she says. “The caregiving course is the closest to what I want.”
That she and other Tech-Voc scholars will study their preferred courses in a setting that promotes volunteerism and compassion for sentient beings further enhances their learning experience.
“It’s like a temple,” says Gia of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila. “It’s a great opportunity for me to learn other cultures—especially the mission and vision of Tzu Chi, which is to help.”
Classes have yet to begin, but already Gia is moved by the warm acceptance and unequivocal support of Tzu Chi volunteers.
“Actually, words are not enough for me to say how thankful I am to Tzu Chi Foundation and Master Cheng Yen for this opportunity—not just for me but all my fellow Technical-Vocational scholars,” she says. “For now, I can promise one thing: I will carry this with me for the rest of my life.”