Spreading Social Good: From enrollment to employment
SM scholar alumnus Jio Alamil
The Philippines, as a developing country experiences educational disparity brought by differing economic and cultural capital. Various studies show that there’s a low participation of students from poor families to proceed to a college education. With limited resources, education tends to be less prioritized by families in grassroot communities over more basic needs such as food and shelter– which lowers the chances of the family to move out of poverty. With this reality, it is therefore, important that the poor be given equitable access to education.
This is where SM Foundation (SMFI), the corporate social good arm of the SM group, comes to light.
SMFI takes pride to its roster of competent scholar graduates through the years. Since its inception in 1993, SMFI has already produced more than 8,000 college and tech-voc scholar-graduates.
Most awaited ‘plot twist’
One of SM’s scholar alumni, Jose Ireneo Alamil, or Jio to his family and friends, shared what he considers as plot twist in his life. He recalled how their family was struggling financially, particularly when he was about to enter college.
“I can still remember, yung lowest point po ng family namin ay yung noong magka-college na ako. Kasi hindi namin alam kung matutuloy ko pa ang aking pag-aaral dahil kahit may mga state universities, hindi rin namin kakayanin yung ibang expenses while studying,” Jio recalled.
“Then one day po, nalaman namin sa school ang tungkol sa SM College Scholarship Program. Doon po nagsimulang magbago ang lahat,” he further added.
Jio’s father works as a building technician, while his mother is a fulltime housewife. He finished BS Mechanical Engineering in 2019 from the University of Perpetual Help System – Biñan Campus. He passed the board exam the same year. Being the eldest of the two siblings, Jio assumed the role of being the breadwinner for his family.
Jio Alamil together with his parents and brother
From education to employment
While there’s no bond for SM scholars to work at SM after graduation, they are given the opportunity to work in the SM group and its subsidiaries should they opt to. Currently, Engr. Jio works as an Assistant Property Manager at SM Retail. In this role, he ensures that every facility in the company’s warehouse in Paranaque is safe and in good working condition – which greatly contributes to the smooth operations on logistics and site development projects of SM Retail.
“Sa five years na pag-aaral ko po ng mechanical engineering, ang SM Foundation ay laging nandiyan hindi lang para sa financial assistance, kung hindi maging sa capacity building at enrichment activities. Ngayon, hindi lang nila ako pinag-aral, binigyan pa nila ako ng stable na trabaho kahit nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya. Nakakatuwang isipin na ngayon, parte na ako ng kumpanyang tumulong sa akin upang makatapos ng pag aaral,” Jio said.
A taste of fulfillment
A few years after graduation, Jio already noticed some changes in their daily lives, which he thought that he can just achieve in his wildest dreams: “As a breadwinner, I am very happy na matulungan yung family ko na makaahon sa hirap. Dati pino-problema namin yung kakainin namin sa araw-araw dahil hindi sapat ang kinikita ng aming papa, ngayon hindi na. Nakakakain pa kami sa labas from time to time. Mas magaan na ngayon ang buhay namin simula noong nakapagtrabaho ako, at iyon ay dahil sa tulong ng SM Foundation.”
“To SM foundation and Sy family, I will always be grateful for everything. Maraming, maraming salamat sa pagtulong sa akin na maabot ang aking mga pangarap,” Jio concluded.