Lao Foundation kicked off 2016 by visiting and extending educational assistance to financially constrained students of Don Bosco Training Center in San Jose, Nueva Ecija last January 14, 2016. Under the new project LFI-.Don Bosco Training Center TechVoc Educational Assistance Project, LFI will provide for the total training cost of the students.

Don Bosco Training Center is a TESDA accredited Technical-Vocational Institution catering to out-of-school youths. The center offers a 15–month training program in three trade qualifications, namely: SMAW NC II (Shielded Metal Arc Welding), MSES NC II (Motorcycle Small Engine Servicing), and Automotive Servicing NC I & NC II.

TVET Director Fr. Jerry T. Santos said that the Salesians of Don Bosco have been helping the underprivileged youth of Nueva Ecija by running the training center for the past twenty years. They accept applicants from the different municipalities in the province of Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces of Tarlac, Quirino and Nueva Viscaya. Once the applicant passed the tests and interview, two of their staff conducts home visit to further screen the applicants and prioritize the students based on their economic status.

To support the education of their students, Fr. Jerry T. Santos and his staff look for sponsors and the students are required to pay a minimal fee as their counterpart for their training. Currently, they have a total of one hundred fifteen (115) scholars; only fifteen (15) of these have sponsors and receiving full scholarship. The others are partially supported by the donations from individuals and organizations. They also receive minimal donation from the local government unit and TESDA.

During LFI’s visit, TVET Director Fr. Jerry T. Santos expressed his gratitude for the sponsorship of LFI. He shared that they were fortunate to know about LFI through D&L HRD Director Ramon 'Mon' Taniola during a talk to Don Bosco TVET Directors encouraging them to tweak their courses to fit the current needs of the industry. About 8 years back, Mon Taniola was also instrumental in linking Don Bosco Training Center in Nueva Ecija with D&L HRD, which lead to some graduates to work at D&L. Similarly, LFI mentioned that it would also be good for Don Bosco to think of high value courses that would alleviate the students’ economic situation faster which in turn could cascade to the students’ families considering the strong Filipino culture in helping their family.

According to Fr. Santos, LFI’s approval of the sponsorship was an answered prayer. He expressed gratitude for the LFI’s visit and for the productive and inspiring discussions with the foundation. He said that LFI’s sponsorship encouraged them to not only continue their work but to do more for the poor youth entrusted to their care.

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