In partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), 25 youth offenders residing at the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth got national certificates for cooking.

Trainees during one of their sessions inside the facility.

These children, in conflict with the law, completed a 40-day training conducted by TESDA and were recognized during a graduation ceremony on April 30, 2024, at the facility’s covered court.

The training on cookery that started on January 15, 2024, went on a series of demonstrations and applications of learning. TESDA taught the RRCY residents healthy and nutritious recipes, dessert preparations, choosing the right ingredients, and proper use of kitchen utensils.

As a Level III Center and Residential Care Facility, operated by DSWD 7, RRCY introduces these skills development programs to help residents acquire knowledge, skills, and values-based competencies during rehabilitation and prepare them for reintegration.

Center Head Aileen G. Cuevas said all the graduates thanked TESDA for the free training. “Our hearts are full to see these children express gratitude for receiving this training. They are determined to complete it because they want to remove the stigma that there is no hope for them,” Cuevas enthused.

These residents are children with cases filed before the court for committing a crime when they were below 18 years old. Instead of a sentence, the court ordered their cases to be suspended and go through rehabilitation in a residential facility such as RRCY.

While LGUs are establishing their own rehabilitation center for the CICLs, DSWD operates RRCY in Brgy. Candabong, Argao, Cebu to accommodate those LGUs who cannot cater to their juvenile delinquents.

Part of the rehabilitation services of the center are programs such as skills development along with home life services, socialization, productivity, spiritual, and education, among others, to restore their social functioning.

“Some residents have limited access to education because of their early exposure to life’s circumstances that brought them to the center. We want them to undergo this training because we want them to be equipped before they return to their communities,” Cuevas explained.

As the center head, she believes that the training is essential for diverting their attention from being bored with routine activities inside the center that might lead to absconding.

As they leave the facility, the management of RRCY hopes that these valuable training sessions will help them chart their life anew.

Cooking for a ‘renewed life’

Alias John, 19, received his certificate with excitement and proudly shared and promised that once released, he would find a job to open a small food business for himself and his 5-year-old son, using the training he got from the center.

John prepares a hot meal dish as his output during one of their sessions.

Dako kaayo ni og tabang. Bentaha kung naa mi certificate kung mo-apply mi og trabaho pohon, kay maka-apply dayon mi. Dili mi mahadlok nga adunay diskriminasyon nga gikan mi og rehabilitation,” John said.

In 2022, the court charged John with drug use and possession. He was detained in a prison facility in the City of Naga, Cebu, together with adult detainees, but eventually transferred to RRCY in October 2023.

Since then, John hopes for the dismissal of his case so he can go back to his life with his siblings and mother, who has cancer, whom he plans to take care of.

While waiting for that to happen, John enjoys the company of his fellow CICLs inside the center and the many activities that keep them hopeful.

He is currently tasked as an overall team coordinator that oversees other residents in their assigned daily chores. “Bisan anaa ko sa sulod sa RRCY, nabati nako nga aduna koy kagawasan tungod sa pagsalig nga gihatag kanako, maayong pagtagad sa mga staff kanamo, ug labaw sa tanan mga pagtulun-an sama niini nga makatabang sa among kaugalingon.”

John recognized that cooking is a way of life. He wanted to learn cooking so he can help in the kitchen activities inside the center. “Abi nako wala ra to ang ilang gi-ingon nga mo-eskwela mi sa TESDA kay akong huna-huna, dili man posible tungod kay anaa man mi sulod sa RRCY,” but he was surprised that they started the training sessions where he got excited with every new lessons learned.

The cookery training is just one of the many he got from TESDA while rehabilitating at the center. He said there is also training on welding, fabrication, and woodworks.

Alias John said completing his training marked a significant step forward in his life. He hopes for a new beginning and a normal life with his family when he returns to them.

Uban sa pagsalig sa Ginoo, kadasig ug paglaum, kining certificate sa TESDA akong bawnon aron kung mogawas na ko sa center, nindot nga oportunidad ang maghuwat kanako.” ###



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