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About 10,000 out-of-school youth in ARMM get training from Australian-funded program

COTABATO CITY – The Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM), a program funded by the Australian government currently implemented in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has provided livelihood skills training to roughly 10,000 youth beneficiaries since it was launched in 2013.

In the province of Tawi-Tawi alone, at least 2,000 out-of-school youth were trained under the program. “BEAM-ARMM provides our out-of-school youth with opportunities to live a better life,” said Tawi-Tawi Governor Nurbert Sahali during the first visit to the province of an Australian delegation comprising of high-ranking officials.

On Friday, December 11, Australia’s Federal Justice Minister Hon Michael Keenan MP and the Australian Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission, David Dutton, were in the provincial capital of Bongao to meet with local government officials and out-of-school youth 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.” The Australian government is one of the largest donors to the country’s education sector with an annual investment 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 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,” the statement said, adding, Usani was not able to enrol in college in previous years due financial constraints.

Another beneficiary, Sonora Sampang, 26, said she is now a dressmaker expressing hope to put up her own dressmaking shop to earn bigger income. Out-of-school youth who completed the BEAM-ARMM training receive Technical Education and Skills Development Authority certificates that can be used in applying for local and foreign-based jobs, the statement added. (Bureau of Public Information)

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