October 10, 2019
Caregiving added to Tzu Chi’s livelihood training
By Jonas Trinidad
Tzu Chi Philippines’ Livelihood Training Program (LTP) adds caregiving to its growing list of courses designed to help Filipinos work in lucrative industries.
With a pioneer batch of 15 students, the Caregiving Course was formally opened on August 2, 2019. This 71-day training program aims to train students in the multifaceted aspects of giving care to the elderly, children, and people with special needs. Classes are held for six hours from Monday to Saturday, as with other courses under the LTP. Expenses like food, uniform, and transportation are paid for by Tzu Chi Foundation.
Serving as the course instructor is Catherine Quibinit from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). More than simply giving care, caregiving also involves an array of core skills such as housework and medical care. But she adds that the most important skill to have—passion—cannot be taught in a classroom, it is manifested in the good and kindness of the individual.
“As [an expert], I share with them my experiences. I tell them the privileges of this line of work when done with sincerity. [The care] will simply come out on its own. I can see among the students that they have that passion,” said Quibinit.
Among the pioneer batch is Erika Duhay, younger sister of Machine Operation Course Batch 1 alumna Iris Duhay. As she found machine operation a difficult subject, she instead enrolled for the caregiving program.
“At first, I thought that a caregiver’s job is simply to give care. But as [the instructor] taught us, we also have to learn to give first aid, among others. So I’m happy that I learned a lot here,” remarked Duhay.
Caregivers are expected to rise in demand with the growing population of people 60 years old and above. A report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2017 predicted that the population of senior citizens would double by 2050. In countries like China, Taiwan, and Japan, senior citizens would soon make up two-fifths of their populations.
Job opportunities for caregivers in the Philippines, however, is just as plentiful as those overseas. HelpAge International, a global nonprofit catering to the welfare of senior citizens, estimates that the population of senior citizens in the country will almost triple by 2050.
Nolito Bragat, Jr. enrolled in the program out of a need to care for his grandparents, ages 74 and 70. Despite receiving money from their separated parents, his family can barely afford a private caregiver. So he would serve as his grandparents’ personal caregiver instead, even teaching his relatives on basic caregiving.
“Most important is to have respect for the elderly. And you also need to have the passion. You must not get irritated or get angry easily because old people are often irritable because of their condition. Instead of answering it with your own attitude, just help them with their personal and emotional needs,” said Bragat.
Toward the end of the program, the students would undergo two levels of assessment. One is an institutional assessment organized by the instructor, and the other by a national assessment organized by TESDA. They would be certified once they passed these evaluations.