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Young Women Rebuild Their Lives After Typhoon Haiyan

A Plan-supported program has made it possible for Emily to support her family and send her sister to school.

“It’s a tiring job, but I like it,” said 23-year-old Emily at the end of her shift working at a fast food chain in the Philippines. “I especially love talking with the customers.”

She got the job after graduating from a Plan International skills training program.

“The skills I learned have opened up opportunities for me,” she said. “I now have a job that feeds my family and sends my younger sister to school.”

Typhoon claimed more than 6,300 lives in Tacloban City.

Communities and lives destroyed by Haiyan


Emily is from Tacloban City, an area decimated by Typhoon Haiyan, which claimed more than 6,300 lives in 2013.

After leaving school, she worked as a salesperson for six months. However, when Typhoon Haiyan struck and left the country’s infrastructure and economy in tatters, Emily become jobless.

Like many other young people, Emily’s lack of skills left her with few opportunities.

Plan's skills improvement program ensures that youth are trained in skills that are in-demand and market-driven.

Young women learn market-driven skills


In response to the widespread youth unemployment post-typhoon, Plan launched a program in partnership with the Technical Skills and Development Authority and Accenture to help young people gain skills and get jobs.

As part of the project, young people are trained in skills that are in-demand and market-driven.

“I didn’t think twice about joining,” said Emily. “I’ve wanted to learn a skill, but the vocational courses are expensive.”

She enrolled in a housekeeping course that earned her an internationally-recognized qualification. In addition, Emily also learned a number of key skills that have prepared her for life at work.

By providing “soft skills” alongside more specific practical skills, young people become more attractive to employers and more able to adapt and find jobs in the long term.

Preparing for life at work


“We prepare them through so-called ‘soft skills,’ such as analytical thinking and communications skills, financial literacy, digital literacy, family planning, and disability awareness,” said Emilio Paz, Plan Livelihood Advisor.

By providing “soft skills” alongside more specific practical skills, young people become more attractive to employers and more able to adapt and find jobs in the long term.

“My training comes in handy when dealing with difficult customers,” said Emily. “I make sure they are happy with the service I provide.”

Her customer service skills and enthusiasm have not gone unnoticed by her manager Raymond.

“If she keeps it up, she’ll have room to grow in the company,” he said.

Plan's program has helped Annalisa gain valuable financial skills.

Starting successful businesses


Annalisa, 25, was able to set up her own business after completing the training program.

“I am now debt-free,” she said. “I thought the day would never come when I no longer have to borrow.”

Young people who want to start their own businesses are given specific training and provided with a small amount of money through the project to help them establish their enterprises.

Annalisa, a mother of three, has set up coconut juice stalls.The stalls, set up on modified bicycles, help her earn enough to care for her family.

Plan's program has helped Annalisa gain valuable financial skills.

Key financial skills

Before the typhoon, she and her husband sold fish but they barely made enough money to survive. Every time they ran out of money, they would borrow more.

“We spent everything we earned. It was easy enough to find someone willing to lend cash but the high interest rates made it almost impossible to get out of debt,” said Annalisa.

When the typhoon struck and wiped out everything they owned, they were left without any way to make money. However, since joining Plan’s skills training program, she has been able to establish her business and manage her money.

“I learned about saving and how important it is in running a business,” she said. So now, my husband and I are making sure that we put away some of our earnings.”

With hard work and discipline, the couple was able to save enough money to buy a second stall within two months of starting their business, and they hope to add a third soon.

Nearly 4,000 young people have acquired vital job skills that have enabled them to enter the workforce.

Lives transformed

To date, the skills training program has helped nearly 4,000 young people gain vital and marketable skills that they have used to apply for jobs or set up businesses. Now they are turning their lives around and helping their country’s economy recover after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.

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