Kristin de Castro, Liezl de La Rosa, and Danreb Bacelonia are like millions of Filipinos who struggle everyday to make ends meet. Instead of losing hope, they view their hardship as a challenge to improve their lives.
The three are proud graduates of Ginebra San Miguel Inc.’s Technopreneur program, a special education grant given to 180 scholars from eight different regions, to commemorate the company’s 180th anniversary. Under the program, scholars underwent eight months of training in bartending and entrepreneurship at the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA), a program partner.
The program, while indeed unique to Ginebra San Miguel’s 180th anniversary year, is but part of GSMI’s continuing advocacy to provide educational opportunities for underprivileged but deserving students.
What sets this program apart from other GSMI scholarship grants is that it has a livelihood component. At the end of the program, the scholars were given mobile bars complete with GSMI products so they could start their own businesses and practice using what they’ve learned.
Ginebra San Miguel has always been a brand that hard-working Filipinos can identify with. The company understands the value of education and how it can transform not just the life of one person, but also that of his family. GSMI is committed to providing its scholars with the skills and the opportunity for a better future.
Kristin is a mother of four. Her husband, Roldan works as a delivery truck driver. Already struggling to provide for their children, Roldan was laid off. “I felt helpless because I had no skills that could help me find work. Who would hire a mother of four who didn’t even have the chance to go to college?” Kristin shares. She says the GSMI scholarship was a much-needed lifeline.
“This is such a blessing. I can help my husband with our expenses, and to have a partner such as Ginebra is really something big!”
Liezl is also raising a family of four on her husband’s meager paycheck as a messenger. “There are times when I had to go out and offer manicure and pedicure services. It was difficult, but I have to stay strong for my family,” says Liezl. She was determined to complete the program because she also wanted to serve as an example to her eldest daughter who is also a scholar.
“I want her to see me as a role model – someone who works hard and doesn’t give up. I want her to see how much I value education. For my graduation, I invited my parents to attend. I want them to see me go up the stage and be proud of me.”
Danreb for his part, used to take odd jobs to feed himself. At age eight, he sold vegetables in the market. He was working as a janitor in a mall when he learned about GSMI’s program. He saw it as an opportunity to support his aunts, siblings and also his mother-with whom he was reunited with at the time of his TESDA training.
“I persevered in my studies because I want to help my aunts who raised me, as they are now getting old. I am working hard so that when I have my own family someday, they won’t have to go through the same hardships I’ve had to endure.”