A day at the Victor Braun Vocational Training Center

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A day at the Victor Braun Vocational Training Center


On Friday May 4th, I visited the Victor Braun Vocational Training Center which helps people with intellectual disabilities or mentally challenged from age 16 and upwards. Through Rise Above, Camilla V. Braun, is completing her internship at the training center.  Together with another Danish student, Mette, Camilla is helping the students at the training center with learning basic housekeeping, food preparation, cooking, paper, wood crafting, carpentry and gardening. The training center also has its own water refilling station, where the students learn how to refill water and at the same time earn some money.

I was met by smiling students

It is the nuns that go out to the communities and recruit the students. The students attend the training center for maximum 2 years before they move on. The training center is open Monday thought Friday from 08:00 to 15:00. The number of students varies. But usually they are about 12 students. The staff is open to suggestions from the Danish students. When asked what is the biggest challenge Camilla says, “the communication”. The students are not always easy to understand and she does not know the local language Bisaya. However, Camilla and some other Danish students are taking a language course once a week to learn. She says that even though I only understand one word, I can imagine the rest.

Camilla surrounded by a happy bunch

I asked if she knows the background of the students at the center. She says that is actually what her project “student profile” is all about. She is in the process of gathering information about the students such as their strong side and their weaknesses and what the training center has to focus on. The names of siblings and family background are also important for the communication to improve. Her project will be implemented from the next school year, which starts in June.

The Danish students are free to choose which country they wish to complete their internship. I asked Camilla why she chose the Philippines. She answered that she actually wanted to go to Australia. But since none of her friends were going and she was recommended Philippines by other students that had completed their internship here, she decided to come to the Philippines. She had no expectations before coming. “It is better to keep an open mind”, she says.

On her days off, Camilla and her friends go out a lot. They have already explored some of the neighbouring islands. They go shopping and partying. “Just having fun”, says Camilla. She has made a lot of good friends here, who she will miss dearly when she leaves. She says that Filipinos have the same view as her, that everyone is equal.  “I really like the people here. They have big hearts. Even though they have little, they give back”, says Camilla.

When Camilla returns to Denmark she will only have six months left of her 3.5 years of study. But before she flies back to Denmark she will take a vacation in Thailand.  After she has ended her education, she wishes to work with mentally challenged people who are older than the ones she has worked with now. But before she steps into the working life she wants to “travel the world”, she says with a smile. And she definitely wants to return to the Philippines. “Either as a tourist or maybe working”, she says. Camilla has already received a lot of work offers.

Written by: Kathrine Canillo

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