About 2 months ago, I interviewed two guys here for a success story on the Philippine government’s scholarship program for skills trainings. The two men, Eugene and Leo, were recipients of the government-sponsored scholarship that trained them to become certified slaughtermen, an occupation not for the faint-hearted as it involves butchering hundreds of lambs and cows everyday.
Eugene (center) and Leo (right) with Geraldine from TESDA, the government agency that administers the skills trainings.
But it’s jobs like this that are in demand overseas. So the government tries to address the unemployment problem here by offering scholarship slots for skills trainings, and in turn the graduates become certified, world-class skilled workers, the kind sought by employers abroad.
But there is more to Eugene’s and Leo’s story than just two Filipinos leaving the country to seek greener pastures abroad. Before they became government scholars, Leo was a jail warden who became a drug addict while Eugene was abandoned by his parents at a young age, leaving him and his sister, a special child, in the care of grandparents. But they rose above the misfortune dealt to them. They could have gone down the rocky, troubled path that others in the same situation usually did. But these men manned up and turned their lives around.
You can read the full story here.
Eugene and Leo, along with their wives, are now in New South Wales, Australia working for a meat processing company. A couple of days ago, Leo told me via a Facebook PM that they were still adjusting to the weather and the cold workplace and the body pains resulting from slaughtering hundreds of lambs everyday. But he remains thankful, for his salary is way more than what he could ever receive back here in the Philippines. In fact, his salary in a month, if converted to Philippine peso, is around ten times my government-grade pay.
How I wish I can fly to the Land Down Under to pay these guys a visit for a follow-up story on how they’re faring now that they are one of the Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs, dubbed as the modern-day Filipino heroes (due to their dollar remittances which played a big role in keeping the Philippine economy afloat during the recent global economic crisis). But that remains just a wish for now.
I’m just glad I had the opportunity to share Eugene’s and Leo’s inspiring story. Here’s a latest shot of them upon their arrival in Australia (photo grabbed from Eugene’s Facebook wall):