Friday, May 29

Empowering lives through skills training

March 10, 2018 | Jamaica Digo

Lucila Turallo drops fifty cents in a coin bank that her daughter, Renalyn, brought home from Tzu Chi Foundation. Lucila says Renalyn has been encouraging their family to donate their coins to help the needy. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

Story Highlights

  • On February 6, during the home visit to 22 Machine Operation Course enrollees, Tzu Chi volunteers were surprised to discover the significant impact of the skills training program on the students and their families.


Tzu Chi volunteers looked in on the 22 Machine Operation Course enrollees on February 6. Through the home visits, the volunteers discovered the training program’s effects on the lives of the students and their families.

In Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City the volunteers found Medy Santos, 44, in her home of tin roof and wood after a round of selling fermented milk drink in the neighborhood. Medy’s son, Paul John, studies machine operation through Tzu Chi.

Since her husband’s health declined, Medy became the breadwinner of the family. In addition to being a vendor, Medy is also a seamstress. With diligence, she managed to send her sons to college. While the older one was able to graduate, Paul John had to quit on his third year of studying Information Technology.

At the time, his father had to undergo three major surgeries on his lungs and liver. To somehow help with the expenses, Paul John used what he learned from college and started offering electronic repair services to his friends and neighbors. But Paul John spent most of his time with his band. On some nights their group would get lucky and got paid for playing music.

When Tzu Chi opened its training program on machine operation, Paul John found it as an opportunity to learn a new skill. There is no training fee and Tzu Chi even provides transportation allowance, uniforms, lunch and snacks.

However, the training did not come as a priority to Paul John. On the first few months, he would be caught sleeping during lectures. When asked, he would answer that he barely slept as his band played the previous night.

Through constant reminders and guidance from Tzu Chi volunteers, however, Paul John learned to set his priorities. Soon, he began to love his newfound skill. At the company where he was doing his On-the-Job-Training, Paul John’s skill in machining was commended by his supervisor that he was promoted to quality assurance.

“I felt like I have found direction. I learned to set goals and plan how to accomplish them. I went to college but I was not able to graduate but I will finish this course. With this skill, I will be able to sustain not only my own needs but my family's as well,” Paul John vows.

Seeing his son well-equipped with a new skill, Medy only have words of gratitude to the people who gave him this opportunity. She also expressed her willingness to help out in Tzu Chi’s charity projects. “Through Tzu Chi, Paul is able to study and help our family,” she explains.

Continuing with their visit, Tzu Chi volunteers arrived at the Turallos’ residence in Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City. Lucila, 50, showed them a blue paper can heavy with donations.

According to Lucila, it was her daughter, Renalyn, who taught the family to save coins to help others in need. Renalyn, who is also a Machine Operation Course student, learned this practice from Tzu Chi. Since then, it has been the habit of every family member to set aside coins for charity.

“Renalyn always reminds her siblings that every cent is important. When they have coins in their pockets, they really save it and drop it in this can, saying ‘Ma, this is a donation to Tzu Chi Foundation.’ Although we are poor, extending a little help to our needy fellowmen makes my children really happy,” ends Lucila.


Help Tzu Chi Foundation continue to empower more needy Filipinos by becoming a donor. Visit for details.

  • From being a clerk at a convenience store, Renalyn Turallo has learned to operate a machine. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers arrive at the house of Machine Operation Course student Paul John Santos. The volunteers are visiting the students' families to learn more about their lives. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Medy Santos, mother of Machine Operation Course student Paul John Santos, thanks the Tzu Chi volunteers for giving her son a chance to learn a skill so the latter can find a more stable job and help their family. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Paul John Santos has learned to set his priorities since enrolling in Tzu Chi Foundation’s Machine Operation Course. Today, he looks forward to completing his training so he can find a stable job to help himself and his family. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】