Vrank's Tact

Sabado, Pebrero 4, 2012

The Story of the “JamJar Project”

It was in 2004 when four selfless PASAR employees, in the persons of Emerson Go, Dara Go, Glen Ceballos, and Roselle Ceballos, started holding volunteer tutorial sessions for the 4th year students of Taberna National High School in Palompon to help them prepare for college. At the end of the school year, however, they realized that most of their students from economically underprivileged backgrounds end up as out-of-school youths primarily due to lack of financial capacity. Thus, they decided to take their free tutorial services a step further by finding ways of making post-secondary education, vocational training, and all other tools for self-improvement more accessible to these students.

Reflecting on their free tutorials’ mission, it cannot be denied that the efforts would come to naught with majority of the students failing to land in college and settling to become out-of-school youths.  In search of a way to help these students further, they looked for scholarships, fellowships, study grants, and similar instruments for them to have hope in pursuing further education.  They were able to give these students access to qualifying exams for TESDA in Ormoc City, CHED in Tacloban City and Cebu’s CITE Industrial Technician Program (ITP).

The holistic curriculum of CITE’s ITP, which is designed to improve the student’s attitude towards work and productivity, as well as towards his family, society and life itself, encouraged them to be more determined in their pursuit.

The CITE ITP is a 3-year ladderized program, which employs a Dual Training System (DTS).  Its students will go through one and a half year of classroom training and another year and a half of application training relevant to his field of study with the different DTS partner companies, mostly situated in the Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) in Cebu.  The program ensures industry exposure, thus maximizing the potential for employment right after completion.  With the income generated by these jobs, not only are the students benefited, but the whole of Leyte as well.

The ITP is, in itself, a scholarship program where the funding of each student is through a cost-sharing mechanism.  It is envisioned as follows:  CITE (30%), the DTS partner (30%), the student’s parents (10%), and other source(s) (30%).  Aside from the program cost, other expenses would be the student’s living expenses, with approximate breakdowns as follows: entrance examinations and pre-admission trainings (P1,900), annual tuition fee (P9,000) and annual expenses (including board and lodging, meals, and transportation) (P28,000).

These four volunteer tutors thought that if they could just get help from other people to finance these young students' education, then they could help them have a chance at a better life. It is in this line that they are looking for willing benefactors who will shoulder the 30% of the program cost. So in 2005 and each year thereafter, they started looking for generous hearts who were willing to sponsor the education of these deserving students, or share their knowledge and skills for the free tutorial services. In 2008, more volunteers started to show willingness to help with the tutorials and with the search for sponsors. Since then, they have had 50 scholars – 24 of whom have already graduated and 26 are currently enrolled in CITE this 2011.
It wasn't an easy task - looking for a willing sponsor who will have to shell out an equivalent of 30% of the entire program cost. So one volunteer tutor, in the person of Charisse Ledesma, thought of a far-reaching and effective way to lessen the weight of having to donate money one-time, big-time. With the consent of the rest of the volunteer tutors, Charisse launched the JamJar Project in June 2011.

The concept of the JamJar Project is simple: small amounts of money voluntarily and regularly saved by a JamJar Angel (as those who are part of the project are called) will, in time, become a big help to these deserving students and may become an instrument to help them get a shot at a better future. There are many ways to contribute to this cause. An Angel may opt to pledge to save a small amount of cash, pledge a certain amount in bulk, or sell used things and commit the proceeds to this cause. There are no limits to what can be done to help.

To date, there are 60 JamJar Angels who have committed to support this endeavour. With their selfless act, they have already jump-started the students’ journey through college. More importantly, however, they have given these students hope for a better future.

For more info on the project, please visit http://thejamjarproject.blogspot.com. And if you wish to be part of this project, you may contact the author of the blog directly.

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