“These certificates [of completions] must not only be framed and hung on walls, but must also serve in providing income to help sustain the needs of your families,” said ODC Director Ferdie during the 3rd Training Completion Ceremony in Quiapo, Manila where 18 mothers graduated from their training courses under the iLead Open Day Center Education and Training (iLead ODC-ET) Program last February 27, 2018.

To recognize the excellent work of the mother trainees during their 4-month courses in baking, cooking, sewing, and beauty care, five women were awarded as the best trainees during their commencement. Vivien Rochelle Manreza (Best in Baking), Perly Muares (Best in Beauty Care), Maribel Pulan (Best in Cooking), Leah Floralde (Best in Sewing), and Irene Austria (Business Minded Award) received certificates of recognition as well as prizes such as cooking utensils, baking equipment, sewing materials, and beauty care kit that they could use to start a business of their own.

Most of the mothers enrolled in the program depend on their husbands to provide for them and their family’s needs alone. However, because of the training they have undergone for the past couple of months, they could finally earn money of their own.

“Now that I have graduated [from ODC-ET], I want to start a sewing and tailoring business. My husband is a tricycle driver and with the skills that I have learned, I can now help him in earning for the needs and sustenance of our family,” said the 33-year-old mother, Leah Floralde.

Due to the intensive training the program has provided, some of the mothers have actually started and operationalized their businesses already even while still enrolled in the training program.

“For the four months of cooking training in ODC, I have learned to cook the different kinds of kakanin. Even while training, I would apply what I already learned and cook kakanin in our house and sell it around our barangay,” Maribel Pulan expressed.

Moreover, an Overseas Filipino Worker mother from Saudi Arabia expressed how the training course offered by Virlanie helped her after all the money she had worked for abroad for three years was gone.

“After three years of working in Saudi Arabia, I went back to the Philippines last October 8, 2017 and all of my savings were spent and now gone. Thanks to Virlanie Foundation for the opportunity to learn these [baking] skills and share my experiences to others too,” said the OFW mother, Irene Austria whose one son and daughter are currently sponsored by the foundation as well.

In addition, a young mother of two who experienced their house burn down to the ground have used her learned skill [baking] from the iLead ODC-ET Program to continue her baking business and help his husband earn to recover from the tragedy their family faced.

“Last January, I stopped my training in ODC because our house was caught in a fire. After that [housefire], I went back to ODC because I needed to finish my training and continue my business because my husband cannot sustain our family alone and the reconstruction of our house as well and I needed to help him,” said the 23-year-old mother, Vivien Rochelle Manreza.

Other mothers who graduated from the training program are the following:

• Cherry Lou Badajos
• Marline Mangande
• Norsidah Mipantao
• Annalyn Vasquez
• Ma. Theresa Absalon
• Maria Rose Nacion
• Jenifer Pimentel
• Janice Barona
• Melody Saure
• Lissa Sesbreno
• Elsa Sumapao
• Malou Tesara
• Mariether Llanto

iLead ODC-ET have not only provided them opportunities but had also given them a brighter vision of their family’s future. Now that they have acquired different skills, and knowledge on livelihood, their family’s future is not blurry anymore. Even after the tragedies life have bestowed upon them, the training program empowered these mothers to conquer whatever challenge lies ahead.