COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: Some 10,000 out-of-school youth (OSY) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have benefited from the livelihood skills training by the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM), a program funded by the Australian government since 2013.
Amir Mawallil, ARMM spokesman on Sunday disclosed that in the province of Tawi-Tawi alone, at least 2,000 OSY were trained under the program.
Last week, Australia’s Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan and the Australian Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission, David Dutton, were in the provincial capital of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi to meet with local government officials and OSY representatives.
A statement from the Australian embassy said the visit “was part of Mr. Keenan’s trip to the Philippines to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation under the comprehensive Australia-Philippines partnership.”
Australian government is one of the largest donors to the country’s education sector with an annual donation of approximately P1.3 billion.
A five-year initiative, BEAM-ARMM is a comprehensive education and youth development program that contributes to poverty alleviation and emergence of peace in ARMM through targeted investments in basic education and the training of out-of-school youth in technical-vocational courses, the ARMM spokesman explained.
The training courses include small engine servicing, masonry, electrical installation maintenance, carpentry, dressmaking, cooking, solar lamp installation and maintenance, and baking, among others.
Yasser Usani, 21, a young man trained to be a barber, said he is already earning from working part-time at a barbershop established last year with support from the program.
“The training helped me pursue my college education,” he said. Usani was not able to enrol in college in previous years due to financial constraints.
Another beneficiary, Sonora Sampang, 26, said she is now a dressmaker expressing hope to put up her own dress shop to earn bigger income.
Out-of-school youths who completed the BEAM-ARMM training receive Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) certificates that can be used in applying for local and foreign-based jobs.