Fifty-eight Alternative Learning System (ALS) girl-learners benefited from the third “Beautiful Girl Inside Out: Personality Development for ALS Learners”, a self-care initiative for girl-learners on 16 May 2019. This initiative was held at “Home for Girls”, a center that provides protection, care, treatment and rehabilitation to abused and exploited girls managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Pawing, Palo, Leyte, Philippines. The participants, ranging from 7 to 19 years old, are the current residents of the center.
This initiative was organized and implemented within the framework of the UNESCO and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) project “Better Life for Out-of-School Girls Fight Against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines” with the support of Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd).
Representatives from DepEd Division of Leyte, Mrs. Mary Joy Arias, and from the Regional Office VIII - Eastern Visayas, Dr. Alejandrito Yman, as well as the Head of the Center, Mrs. Alicia Bolante, expressed their gratitude to UNESCO and KOICA for having this practical activity realized for the underprivileged ALS girl-learners at the Center. On behalf of UNESCO, Mr. Marmon Pagunsan conveyed that UNESCO is devoted to supporting efforts that promote women empowerment and protect the rights of every citizen especially girls to quality and equitable education.
The morning session with a theme “Nurturing Inner Beauty” had inspirational and motivational talks delivered by the notable and accomplished women guest-speakers from various fields. Mrs. Rachel Cuevas, Education Program Supervisor from DepEd Regional Office VIII-Eastern Visayas, and Atty. Camille Jaojoco Villasin, a lawyer who passed the Philippine Bar Exams on her third take, both shared their success stories overcoming life challenges and highlighted the importance of nurturing the inner self as well as loving oneself by taking care of the physical and mental health. The event also brought Ms. Maria Carmela Pullantes, a former resident of the center after becoming a victim of physical abuse and human trafficking perpetrated by her own mother when she was 14 years old. On 2008, Ms. Pullantes attended ALS classes in the center and successfully passed the Acceleration and Equivalency Exam in 2009. Currently, she works as a Project Development Officer at DSWD Field Office VIII and she is also a licensed social worker and an active advocate against all kinds of violence against women and children (VAWC). On her last remarks, she made a request to DepEd and DSWD to continuously support the children of the Center and to never leave them behind. She likewise encouraged all participants to dream bigger, never lose hope, and finish their studies to have a brighter future.
The afternoon session was dedicated to talk about feminine hygiene, skin care, dental care, stress management, and girl-specific health issues delivered by Ms. Trinidad Casis, a Public Health Nurse, Mr. Mary Phoebe Quiban, a Medical Doctor, and Ms. Faye Jessa Egargo, a psychologist and a licensed psychometrician. By the end of the activity, each learner received a learning and hygiene kit for self-care and personal hygiene tools to practice their learning.