MANILA, Philippines — The faculty and staff of Tuloy Foundation have spent weeks preparing for this – the launch of our mobile school, Skills on Wheels at the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Streetchildren Village in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Skills on Wheels (SOW) is the latest endeavor of Tuloy Foundation to seek out the youth in need. A 40-foot cube container van was donated to the foundation and was converted into a mobile school that will benefit a resettlement community in Calauan, Laguna, in particular out-of-school youth who are forced to work because of poverty.
Tuloy sa Don Bosco was founded by Fr. Rocky Evangelista, SDB in the Don Bosco Parish Makati 18 years ago, and since then, has continued its commitment to the poor, abandoned and marginalized street children through free education and work skills training.
At present, Tuloy serves as a home to 250 boys and girls who are orphaned, abandoned, neglected and abused, and a school for 500 non-resident students. Over 10,000 students have graduated at Tuloy Foundation.
Teaching work skills
One of the problems at the Foundation is the growing number of students who drop out despite free education, especially our non-resident students, because of the cost of transportation and their need to work to be able to help their families. The challenge we face at the Foundation is to work harder and venture into different means of seeking out the youth who are in need. We need to equip them with practical skills they can use in their day to day life, as well as values to empower them and keep them grounded.
As a way of responding to this challenge, one of the foundation’s board members , John Kerr, shared his idea for a mobile school. Thus, SOW was born. As Kerr says, “SOW the seed of work skills, and watch as individuals and their community grow.”
The container van was given a fresh coat of paint, tiled, and fitted with lights, a generator set, a portalet, two air conditioners, a wall-mount desk, shelving, 10 computers, an LCD projector,
and whiteboard. Now a mobile school for up to 25 students, it will hold classes from Monday to Friday for four hours a day.
SOW will initially offer courses in Consumer Electronics and Motorcycle Repair.
The Consumer Electronics course will teach skills for troubleshooting and repair of electrical appliances such as electric fans, TV, electrical outlets, circuits and wiring, and cell phone repair. Graduates will receive a TESDA-accredited National Certificate 2 (NC-2).
The Motorcycle Repair course has practical use for a community that uses tricycles as a common mode of transportation. The course will offer formal talks from a resource person from a motorcycle company.
We at the Tuloy Foundation hope that the successful SOW graduates will be equipped with knowledge and skills to start their own business right from their homes. The advocacy will continue as the van goes to different places and communities to reach out to more out of school youth.
(Note: This article authored by Ryan Lorenzo Singson, faculty member of the Tuloy sa Don Bosco School, was published in the Manila Bulletin on July 21, 2011. The mobile school was inaugurated on July 15, 2011.)