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Interview with Marione Bacalso

Good afternoon Sir Marione! You have been working with Children of Asia for four years. What were you doing before?

I graduated in Psychology and then I took up a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling. After that I went to different jobs focusing on either training or guidance. I spent several years in school and several years as well in the human resources department handling training and organizational development. When the opportunity with CoA came up, I thought it was the perfect mix of what I experimented regarding my experience in the academe as a counselor and the industry as a HR practitioner.

What is your job position at CoA ?

I started as a training center manager and helped to develop the training curriculum for students. Every year we tried to improve it. Later I started working on local fundraising. When I started, less than 10% of our funds were coming from local sponsors. Now, we are at 18%, which is quite significant.

Do you have any other volunteering experience?

I was previously working with an NGO that was funded by the EU, operating on energy conservation and solid waste management. We went to different companies that manufactured furniture here in Cebu and tried to look for different ways for them try to be able to have less wastage and save more in energies.

What is something that you are particularly proud of in your work ?

What I really like in the work I do in CoA is that I get to see the actual results of the inputs that I do at work. We do lots of things at the office but it is not like a very big corporation where the end results are a few levels away from you and sometimes lack a direct impact on you on a personal level. When I see students or alumni come here and say they already have a job, it makes me happy. Basically it is the mix between the people that we are trying to help and seeing the results of that, hearing their stories that they have a job and also hearing feedbacks from people who don’t work for CoA and when they say “oh you are really doing a great job”.

Do you have three words for describing CoA?

The first one will probably be “HUMBLE”, in the sense that not a lot of people really know CoA and what we are doing. Although we are not very visible in the Philippines, we have been here for twenty years and we have been doing a lot of development work for the children.

The second will probably be ‘’PERSISTANCE’’, because it is not easy. If it were a business, the return in investment would be very, very slow. When you support the student from elementary and you wait until they reach college and find a job, you need persistence on that to be able to continue with what you are doing.

The third will probably be, and I say that with a lot of humility, “LIFE CHANGING”. Especially when you see students who graduated and have ten other siblings with parents having informal jobs. It is really a success for the student and creates a huge improvement in the family.

 

CoA is celebrating 20 years of existence this year. Do you have a message?

I hope that in the next twenty years, CoA will not need to be here anymore as this would mean that people are already able to financially support themselves. It is a very idealistic vision, but that is exactly what CoA is working for!

 

Our program in the Philippines

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