Learning the technicalities of operating a machine is never easy as the 23 students of the Machine Operation Course (MOC) of the Tzu Chi Livelihood Training Program have to focus on their lessons and hands-on activities.
Huberto Montevirgen, retired mechanical engineering technology professor from the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) in Manila, facilitates the class held at the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila. From Monday to Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the students learn the skills necessary to operate common industrial machinery and the heart to work hard for the benefit of others.
“I can see that they are willing to learn, deserving, and determined to change their lives. They want to learn even the smallest detail of everything. They even ask questions to further understand the lesson. I always tell them not to hesitate asking. I will be always here for them if they want to learn something,” says Montevirgen.
Not only does he share his studies from the university but also his experience as a former seaman. Some of the lessons to be discussed in the coming days include masonry, bench works, and metal working.
The first half of the class is allotted for lectures, while the second half involves hands-on activities.
The pioneer MOC batch is a mix of youths with and without experience in machine operations. Bound by the common goal of learning, students are relieved to have experienced hands with them.
Elpidio Valdez, 30, serves as an older brother to everyone, helping those who are having hard time on a specific task. On their Facing Operation activity using a bench lathe on November 22, Valdez did not hesitate to lend a helping hand to his struggling classmates.
“It feels good to teach and hear them saying thank you afterwards. I feel overwhelmed. I will share to them whatever I know no matter how hard it is. I also encourage them to relax and just enjoy what they are doing just like the way a brother comforts his siblings,” says Valdez.
He shelved his plan of applying for a job in Japan after hearing about the MOC. An electrician, plumber, and carpenter by profession, he provides his parents’ needs since his two siblings have their own families to look after.
He saved up for transportation and food allowance for the program but was surprised when he found out that he wouldn’t spend anything. Tzu Chi will provide everything the students need, allowance and more.
Aside from the skills, students also value the Jing Si (Still Thoughts) wisdom such as humility and helping alleviate suffering.
“I think that we could also apply those values in our stay here like helping one another and being selfless during activities. We should also be humble and help one another in times of need particularly with our lessons,” shares 22-year-old Arniel Dywatco from Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City.
Dywatco is among the most eager to learn in class. After dropping out from college because of poverty, he looked for ways on improving his life. He believes he found his solution in the MOC.
Students of the Machine Operation Class (MOC) listen attentively to Huberto Montevirgen, their class instructor. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Students take down notes during their class.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Huberto Montevirgen, class instructor, shows a sample metal product from using a bench lathe.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Twenty-three students of the Machine Operation Class line up properly upon entering the laboratory room where they are going to do their hands-on activities.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Elpidio Valdez,30, shares his knowledge on operating a bench lathe to his classmates who are unfamiliar with it.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A student makes sure that a metal is free from malformations by refining it.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Huberto Montevirgen gathers demonstrates to his students the safe usage of a bench lathe.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
After their hands-on activity, students clean the equipment they used and return it properly to their proper places.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Students and their professor bow in respect to Dharma Master Cheng Yen after their class for the day.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A Tzu Chi Youth facilitates the distribution of the transportation allowance of the students.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】