Disciples from Adversity: How the Scholars of Lao Foundation are contributing to the enrichment of their community

by Gilmar de Castro, Dualtech Training Center Foundation, Inc.

Unlike most students their age, Leo and Isaiah have already mapped a vision of the future in their heads.

Leo Samarita knew at a very young age that he was destined to become a breadwinner. The eldest son of a sari-sari store owner and a canvasser, Leo has taken to delivering fresh vegetables to the market at the crack of dawn, peddling balut until the late hours of the evening, all while attending classes in the hours between. His weekends are a routine of odd jobs and errands to make ends meet. Leo’s empty hours on the weekends are spent writing homework and studying for exams, and he keeps only a couple of hours for sleep before rising to another day of back-breaking work and rigorous study.

Leo Samarita at training

Isaiah Jun Amoguis has a personal thirst for knowledge and expertise. Born from a family of educators and law enforcers, Isaiah is no stranger to the demands of excellence. In fact, he keeps his standards high, in the hopes of bringing a better life for himself and his family. He previously had four years of Electrical Technology in Bukidnon, before moving to Bohol to pursue a related course under TESDA. After frequent unsuccessful encounters with the competitive industry market though, Isaiah took it upon himself to improve his own craft, despite knowing that it would take additional years of hard work.

By chance or providence, both Leo and Isaiah met people who would forever change their fates. For Leo, the future came in the form of a Learning Facilitator, who encouraged him to pursue an advanced course in Dualtech, while endorsing his case to the Lao Foundation, a not-for-profit organization under the D&L group of companies dedicated to providing educational opportunities for scholars of impoverished families. The foundation not only provides for his fees, but also for his basic subsistence for the first six months. Leo admits that these new dynamics has improved his situation. To repay this unequivocal kindness, Leo has wholly dedicated himself to his schooling, emerging as one of the top students.

Isaiah’s academic calling came in the form of an ALS teacher who, instead of securing him a spot for training, recommended Dualtech as a viable source of skill enhancement. Here, Isaiah admits to experiencing training—information and practice that only few can gain before entering into the maze of the technical industry. At first, he admits that the experience came too fast too soon (a description he uses to further prove his inexperience prior to entering Dualtech), but with the generous assistance of the Lao Foundation, Isaiah was able to find his own rhythm. Now, he dedicates his accolades to the unfailing love and support of his family, his institution, and his generous benefactor, the Lao Foundation.

Leo and Isaiah began their journeys with a vision of the future. Leo recounts how his native town of San Juan still has a staunchly negative view of education. “Sa barangay namin, madaming tambay pa. May pag-iisip sila na hindi sila naniniwala hangga’t walang pruweba.” (In our barangay, there are a lot of vagabonds. They have this mentality where they don’t believe [in education] unless there’s proof).

Many of these hopeless cases are searching for a sign, an opportunity, a person, to shift their perspectives. And to this, Leo, Isaiah, and the members of the Lao Foundation are persevering to bring about a change.

This article originally appeared on Dualtech Training Center Foundation‘s website and can be read here.