Empowering women’s voices in the uplands

Shela Gamalo-Cabale, a young mother of three in an upland community in the Philippines, was often too shy to relate to other people. Because her emotions tend to get in the way of her speaking, she was used to not voicing out her mind. This changed, she said, when she joined the Youth Work Experience (YWE) program that aims to give alternative opportunities to young people who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

The two-month program of the Forest Farm and Leadership in the Margins (FFLM) unit of the Apu Palamguwan Cultural Education Center (APC) provides skills training and formation to youth in community while building skills in managing of the ancestral domain, highlighting the role of women as key collaborators in caring for Creation.

The course is designed to capacitate young women, including parents like Shela, to understand their context, and be able to build paths to pursue and value education, work, and family while they learn the work and institutional context. The workshop learning process has five objectives, namely, work values that enable them to understand the dignity of work, personal financial management, family health and preparation, Laudato Si’, and community care for biodiversity and biome.

Shela, one of the first completers of the program, shares her story in this video.

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