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Uplifting lives through gift of learning

/ 03:43 AM December 20, 2015

In extreme situations of poverty, hope shines brightest in real-life examples of individuals who persevere despite challenging odds.

These are stories of three persons who were able to uplift themselves and their families through the JPMC Entrepreneurship Education for Community Development (JPMC EECD), a program of JPMorgan Chase & Co. through JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resources Development.

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Melinda Bernabe, Edwin Gialolo and Ronnie Boy Flores have different backgrounds and the same aspirations—to provide for their families’ needs, to gain education and employment and improve their lot. These they were able to achieve, and more.

Bernabe, who once worked as a shampoo girl in a beauty parlor, now operates her own hair styling and foot spa business in her hometown of Taytay in Palawan—the result of her training with JPMC EECD.

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Bernabe now earns between P1,000 and P2,500 per week from around 50 regular customers.

She is now able to help her parents and provide good education for her children.

Gialolo, of Tacloban City, meanwhile, is a grade school drop-out. After Typhoon “Yolanda” struck in November 2013, he lost hope of finding a good life and decided to join the thousands who were offered resettlement in Manila. He left his family in the ravaged city without telling them where he was going.

But he became a street child in Manila. Roaming the streets begging for money and looking for food scraps, he was tempted to join syndicates engaged in petty theft. It was the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) in Pasay City that saved him. He was brought to the CCT shelter in Magdalena, Laguna, and his family was told of his whereabouts.

Gialolo’s dorm parents noticed his interest in the kitchen, and how he was attentive to food preparation. CCT, as a partner of Bayan Academy, gave him the opportunity to join the Cookery NCII community-based training in its Tagaytay Retreat Center.

After passing Tesda’s Cookery NC II assessment in 2014, he was inspired to finish his primary education at the CCT Magdalena School; at the same time, he worked as kitchen assistant at CCT Magdalena. “I am thankful to JPMorgan for giving me the chance to learn cooking,” he said. “I will return with pride and a toque on my head, to show my parents that something fruitful came from my journey to Manila.”

Ronnie Boy Flores of Tondo, Manila used to see himself as a wayward child, rebellious and always in trouble. In a depressed community like Baseco, where the struggle to lead a decent life is constant, Flores lived like most of his peers and was a source of disappointment to his family.

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A friend told him about the JPMC EECD training. He joined, but did not take it seriously. In time, Flores began to appreciate the lessons being taught.

He spoke in behalf of his batchmates during their graduation: “I promise to put to good use all the things I have learned… We are leaving this place with your dreams for us—to become successful and uplift our families from poverty. Thank you to Bayan Academy and JPMorgan for believing is us when nobody did.”

(For more information on JPMorgan Chase & Co. Entrepreneurship Education for Community Development Program, visit Bayan Academy at 825 Edsa, Quezon City, call 9203025 or e-mail: [email protected])

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TAGS: Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resources Development, charity, Edwin Gialolo, JPMC Entrepreneurship Education for Community Development, JPMorgan Chase & Co., JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Melinda Bernabe, Ronnie Boy Flores
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