The BPI Tech-Voc scholars from Porac, Pampanga, learn how to sew PPEs (personal protective equipment) and face masks.
BPI Foundation, the social development arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), recently supplied safety and sanitation products to some 60,000 front liners, and at the same time provided livelihood training to almost 500 unemployed and underemployed Filipinos.
This was made possible through BPI Foundation’s Technical-Vocational (Tech-Voc) program, which aims to raise the productivity of low-income earners as well as unemployed and underemployed individuals through training programs.
In collaboration with Bayan Academy, the program focused on training beneficiaries to make products that help address health and sanitation needs in the time of COVID-19, and to acquire skills that may be useful even after the pandemic. The courses include basic sewing of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and face masks, liquid soap and sanitizer production, bread making, and contact center training.
“Unemployment and underemployment are perennial problems of our nation and is a key indicator that poverty is real and that we have a surplus of poor communities. The pandemic unfortunately heightened these pre-existing issues, said BPI Foundation Executive Director Owen Cammayo. “Through the Tech-Voc program, we aim to help reduce unemployment and poverty, and improve the financial standing of our poor communities by providing them training for sustainable livelihood opportunities.”
Lilibeth Perez, one of the BPI Tech-Voc scholars, said the training for basic sewing was a huge help to her family in this pandemic. “Malaki ang naitulong ng BPI Foundation sa amin upang makabangon sa panahong ito. Ngayong marunong na akong magtahi ng PPEs, naitatawid na namin ang aming mga gastushin (BPI Foundation helped us a lot in recovering from this crisis. Now that I know how to sew PPEs, we can have enough to cover our expenses),” she said.
Another participant from the liquid soap and sanitizer production training, Francine Radaza, also expressed her gratitude to BPI Foundation. She said, “Maliban sa aming training, binigyan pa nila kami ng mga materyales para masimulan ang aming negosyo (Aside from the training, they also provided materials to help us start our business).”
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) led the digital learning sessions while the face-to-face trainings were conducted on-site by ERDA Foundation, Bukang Liwayway Foundation, Samaritana Transformation Ministries, PHASE-IV United Servants Organization, Inc. (Rodriguez, Rizal), Municipality of Porac, Pampanga, and Shoreline Kapatiran Kaunlaran Inc. (SKKI) of Naic, Cavite.
Health protocols were strictly followed to ensure the safety of trainers and participants, with sessions being conducted in smaller batches to avoid overcrowding, and by ensuring all the participants wore protective equipment and practiced physical distancing.
For 2021, the BPI Tech-Voc program is working toward adding more technical courses to reach more underserved communities in the Philippines.