Sat. May 28th, 2022

A private firm has rolled out a youth development program focusing on children of disadvantaged families near its planned development sites nationwide as part of its advocacy to help improve learning outcomes and increase their life chances.

(cnn.ph)

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang said the SMC Educational Assistance Program will benefit some 292 elementary, junior high, senior high and college students around the communities it serves in Bulacan, Quezon province, Batangas, and General Santos City.

“Sustainability is a big part of not just our new projects, but all of San Miguel’s operations. For our communities, it is even more critical, that is why in the last couple of years, we have been very proactive in instituting social and environmental initiatives in our future project sites, long before any construction is done. These programs are part of our holistic approach to improving the lives of those who will be our future host communities and partners,” Ang said in a statement released on Sunday.

He said the program was piloted in Sariaya, Quezon, where SMC built a model sustainable housing relocation village, complete with disaster-resilient homes, recreation and learning facilities, a complementary fishermen’s dock and multi-purpose center, and a public market managed and operated by fisherfolk and farmer-beneficiaries of the village.

The program is currently benefiting some 43 students in Sariaya, whose parents have also been provided by SMC with training on entrepreneurship and various skills, through a partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Buoyed by the success of the pilot program, the firm has also launched the SMC Education Assistance Program for 81 beneficiaries in Bulakan, Bulacan, where it is set to build the New Manila International Airport (NMIA).

Meanwhile, a total of 129 students from elementary, junior high, senior high, and college levels are also benefiting from the program in Calatagan, Batangas.

In General Santos, a total of 39 junior, senior high, and college students were included in the program.

“We are well aware of how difficult it is to pursue online learning during the pandemic. Experts point out to learning challenges like the lack of reliable internet connection, inadequate computer knowledge or equipment, loss of interest or motivation, stress, depression, distractions at home, and the lack of support system that is usually present in traditional school environment,” Ang said.

However, with the same determination in providing better and safe homes, livelihood and skills training, and additional sources of income to the beneficiaries, he said their social development teams are using their experience of working with people from the communities nationwide, to help parents and their children cope with the challenges they face.

“Hopefully, we can prepare them for a better future, and to take advantage of future opportunities at our developments,” Ang added.

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