Learning Marketable Skills Gives
Youths a Chance to Rise Out of Poverty

Stories by By Babylene Bocayes, Philippines Field Communications Specialist, and Josela Lopez, Honduras Field Communications Specialist   |  Photos by Pastor Danilo Baquir, Director of Kalubian Hope Center in the Philippines, and Honduras Hope Center staff

In the Philippines, a young woman has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn an exciting skill that could help her make a good living. In Honduras, a group of 60 teens enroll in workshops that teach them how to earn a living as hairstylists. The following two stories are examples of OneChild’s efforts to teach young adults vocational skills that will help them break the cycle of poverty and thrive.

Graduate Takes the Plunge
for an Exciting Opportunity

Jecel with her scuba diving instructor, Pastor Dan.

Even though Jecel Jenn, 22, a graduate of the OneChild program, grew up next to the sea, she’d never explored the waters around her beautiful home island of Malapascua in Cebu, Philippines.

“I was never fond of the sea,” Jecel says.

But her Child Champion at the Kalubian Hope Center had other ideas — and a way to equip the young woman with a potential job skill.

Pastor Dan Baquir, who also is a professional diver and instructor, thought that teaching Jecel scuba diving would give her an advantage in life as it could provide her with a good livelihood on the island.

“Because she was a completer [of the program], we want to recognize her,” the Hope Center Director says.

“And so, we offered her to study diving so she can use it even if she will not proceed to college. It’s a decent job here on our island.”

Scuba diving is an economically viable livelihood in Malapascua as the island is a favorite diving destination for tourists.

Malapascua features many diving spots rich in marine life. Colorful coral gardens and thresher sharks are the most popular sights for divers to see here.

So Jecel decided to take the plunge and learn how to scuba dive.

“I prayed before I went into the water,” she says of her first dive. “I was scared [at first]. It was dark and I did not know what to expect. But I was amazed — it was so beautiful down there.”

Pastor Dan is OK with teaching Jecel about scuba diving!

Jecel completed the scuba diving course just before she graduated from the OneChild program in November 2022. She now holds an SSI (Scuba School International) certificate that allows her to enjoy scuba diving locally and internationally.

“I am so happy that I got to experience this. It’s a miracle for me,” says Jecel.

She also is grateful and happy for all the support she received from her years at the Hope Center.

“It was a big help for my study especially when I was in high school,” she says. “They provided my school supplies and paid for some of my school expenses. I am so thankful for my sponsors that I graduated high school because of their help.”

Jecel is especially grateful to her Child Champions.

“I also want to thank them because they are the reason why I can face all the challenges I encounter in life,” she says. “They taught me the right things. They taught me that I am loved and guided by God, and I just need to trust in Him whenever I face problems.”

Pastor Dan says Jecel is a dreamer. She dreams of becoming a police officer. For now, she is saving up by working in the city as a babysitter so she can go to college in the future.

But scuba diving is never far from her mind, either.

“When I go back to the island, I will continue my [diving] training with Pastor Dan,” Jecel says.

So even if she finishes college, Jecel will always have another skill to fall back on if she needs to, thanks to the efforts of her Child Champion.


Workshops Equip Teens for Employment in Honduras

Youths at a Hope Center learn how to style hair to earn some income.

Several big manufacturers such as Hanes Brand have left Honduras in recent years, leaving more than 4,000 people without a job*. In addition to the big brands, other small manufacturers have also left, meaning fewer job opportunities for Hondurans.

And this hardship was intensified during the pandemic as many businesses were forced to close. Most teens living in poverty in Honduras need to start working early in life to help their parents support the family.

They may work in construction, clean houses, or do electrical work and other manual labor jobs. But diminishing job opportunities make finding a good job challenging for youths.

A young man works on his barbershop skills.

Hope Centers, however, have the opportunity to help impoverished communities thrive.

That includes helping children and youths without taking them out of their communities but instead investing in them where they live.

By believing in them, supporting them in school, and reinforcing good behaviors, Child Champions can help communities change for the better.

As a global community of Child Champions, we also find strength in partnerships. Pastor Doris, a Hope Center Director in Choluteca, is using the power of partnership to help kids thrive in her community.

Thanks to a special donation for Hope Centers in Choluteca, Pastor Doris partnered with CEPTIC and INFOP, two organizations that create workshops to help teenagers and adults in Honduras develop or reinforce skills for job success.

Both organizations were asked to send a list of workshops that the youths at the Hope Centers in Choluteca could attend.

Honduras Country Director David Garcia met with the organizations’ representatives to ensure the workshops would be beneficial for the teens.

Beautiful results from a budding hairstylist!

As a result of this work, 60 teens from six Hope Centers have started their workshops.

The first workshops focused on training in barbershop and beauty salon skills.

The teens are intentional in taking advantage of what they are learning and have said they are thankful for the opportunity that came from this partnership.

Sixty young people will soon graduate with certifications in an in-demand skill.

Giving them the chance to learn these skills creates new and valuable employment opportunities that will help them thrive in their own communities.

It is true that things are not easy in Honduras, and unemployment is rising.

But it is also true that when youths learn marketable skills, they will always find employers in need of those skills.

* https://www.latribuna.hn/2022/11/13/gerardo-espinoza-4000-empleos-se-perderan-por-cierre-de-dos-maquilas-en-diciembre/

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