PHILIPPINES: Salesian-run Tuloy Foundation Provides Education and Social Support to More than 800 Street Youth
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian-run Tuloy Foundation in Muntinlupa, the southernmost city of the 16 cities that make up Metro Manila or the Philippine National Capital Region, provides residential care services and education for more than 800 street, migrant and orphan youth. Founded in 1993 by Father Marciano “Rocky” G. Evangelista, the foundation began with just 12 children. Since that time, it has grown to encompass multiple programs and facilities and has helped thousands of youth gain an education and go on to lead successful lives.
Access to education is a critical component to overcoming poverty. In the Philippines, drop-out rates double as children reach secondary school and there are more than 11 million out-of-school youth, according to UNICEF. Almost a quarter of the country’s population, including a large percentage of children, live in poverty.
The Tuloy Foundation goes beyond providing a home for at-risk youth. Once off the streets, foundation participants are removed from a life exposed to begging, theft, drugs and prostitution, among other negative influences. Children must be at least 9 years old to enter the foundation’s school program which begins in first grade and continues through technical training. Those who are just coming in off the streets receive food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, recreation, education and skills training. Older youth pursue technical training in a variety of technologies including automotive, electrical, welding and woodworking in addition to other studies. Participants also have the ability to access on-the-job training in sponsor companies.
“It is up to each individual youth to make the most of the programs being offered,” says Fr. Evangelista. “Youth decide if they want to stay living at the foundation until they are 18, and if so, spend the last 18 months with us taking technical and vocational training to prepare for employment after graduation.”
Father Evangelista was able to expand the program in 1999 through a partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development which leased 4.5 hectares of land in Alabang, the third largest district in Muntinlupa. In addition to residential and educational facilities, youth can take classes at the Tuloy Nature Therapy Center, a retreat that introduces these former street children to the beauty of nature. Offering classes in farming and agriculture, the center features sustainable organic aquaponics and a composting farm that provides food for the students and generates income for the center from the community.
In 2014, Capital One Philippines Support Service Corp. (COPSSC), the global business processing services arm of the United States based Capital One Financial Corp., opened a new learning facility at Tuloy’s Don Bosco School in Alabang. The facility houses Tuloy’s Call Center Readiness Program, a 13-month training program designed by Capital One Philippines to teach students key competencies required for entry-level positions in business processing outsourcing and other service industries.
The Call Center Readiness program expanded the current academic and vocational training offerings at the Don Bosco School. In the first seven months of the program, students receive intensive classroom training in the English language and computer basics as well as the fundamentals of customer service. In the final six months of the program, students receive interactive hands-on training at the new learning facility and upon successful completion, are given the opportunity to gain permanent job placement at Capital One Philippines.
The students at Tuloy are given many opportunities they would otherwise not have both inside and outside the classroom. Thanks to the generosity of private donors and sponsors, students can choose extra-curricular activities such as gardening, dancing and rugby. The importance of team sports, such as rugby, helps student learn teamwork, respect for others and discipline, all skills that can be applied to other aspects of life.
“The Tuloy Foundation provides education and a wide variety of opportunities to poor youth, helping them break the cycle of poverty,” adds Fr. Evangelista. “With programs like those offered at Tuloy, Salesian missionaries in the Philippines work to meet the ever growing needs of street children to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential.”
UNICEF – Philippines