TWENTY-THREE solo mothers from Cebu City were recognized last Friday in the Golden Prince Hotel and Suites for having completed a five-day training on information and communications technology (ICT) skills development.
Supported by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Zealand Embassy, Azpired, Inc., and the Cebu City Government, the “Enabling solo mothers to be e-ready” course was made available for free.
“We know how it feels to struggle from being micro. We know how difficult life can be, faced with limited opportunities. That is why Cebu Chamber partnered with the New Zealand Embassy and the Cebu City Government, whose program is to build an IT community of home-grown entrepreneurs,” CCCI President Antonio Chiu said.
Consul Chiu emphasized that the organizers believe these solo mothers are worth the investment and that starting a journey with them will keep the chamber’s feet on the ground even as they work on bringing businesses to the next level.
“I joined this training because I was interested to learn about the program and how it can open up new opportunities for me. I thought solo mothers are just for kitchen and laundry but the training was an eye-opener for me,” said Mary Joy Sy, 52, one of the trainees.
She said that in five days, she learned basic computer and freelancing skills such as effective uses of social media, website development, and using Wordpress and other online freelancing platforms, which helped her build self–confidence.
Engr. Royden Rusiana led the course.
Some of the trainees, like 19-year-old Mia May Padigos, said they were moved while listening to their fellow solo parents talk about the training and their hopes for how it can make their lives better.
“It had always been my desire to have stable work. As a home-service beautician, I realized that I can also promote my services online, through social media like Facebook. I do not want to work abroad. I realized I can work at home and be a caring mother to my children who need me more than other children in another country would,” said Feche Zamora, 34, a solo parent of five children.
The program closed with a message from the Business Development and Services division head of CCCI, Elpe Canoog, who thanked everyone behind the program.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña also discussed the City’s upcoming project for solo mothers, something similar to an Israeli kibbutz, where participants can share a home that’s close to their workplace. The plan is to help qualified single mothers find work as call center agents at Azpired, Inc., a partner in the project. Part of the goals is to provide a safe and drug-free environment for the participants’ children.
“The principle is very simple. If you are a single mother and you want to work in a call center, everything will be provided, including your meals and your baby’s needs. All you have to do is go to work. We have many corporate sponsors that are willing to provide the initial subsidies,” Mayor Osmeña said.
“This is something we hope we will be able to accomplish in the next term,” he added.
Technologies “like robotics, three-dimensional printing, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things will help drive prosperity,” the Asian Development Bank said in its Outlook 2018 report. “Yet they also pose challenges for workers.” The report points out that technological change will spur demand for new services in health care, education, finance, and other areas. (Vanessa de Gracia, CNU intern)