Caritas Manila, the social services arm of the Archdiocese of Manila boasts a total of 1,589 graduates for the school year 2022-2023 under its Youth Servant Leadership and Education Program (YSLEP). The batch includes 2 summa cum laudes, 29 magna cum laudes, 109 cum laudes, 374 on the dean’s list, 358 with academic excellence and 127 special awardees.
For the present school year 2023-2024, Caritas Manila has a total of 4,240 scholars comprising new students and active, presently enrolled youth servant leaders. Caritas Manila refers to its scholars as youth servant leaders since they undergo servant leadership and stewardship formation and training.
Caritas Manila’s YSLEP Program started way back in 1953. From just a handful of scholars back in the day, Caritas Manila now accepts, sponsors, and graduates thousands of deserving students every year. To date, Caritas Manila YSLEP has 12,538 successful graduates.
This resurgence started when Fr. Anton CT Pascual stepped in as Executive Director in 2005. He right away saw the potential of education in alleviating poverty through education. He did a total makeover of the scholarship program by integrating it with servant leadership, church involvement, and community service. What was then just an Educational Assistance Program decades ago was transformed into the Youth Servant Leadership and Education Program.
Fr. Pascual knew he could only grow YSLEP by activating volunteerism in as many parishes as possible. From a scholarship program that was just available in the nation’s capital and nearby cities, YSLEP has now grown to have 140 implementing partners in 53 dioceses nationwide. The program accepts candidates from any religious denomination.
Caritas Manila has identified the top 12 target beneficiaries of YSLEP as urban poor youth, menial youth workers, children in conflict with the law, children of fishermen and farmers, youth with disabilities, orphans, young indigenous people, youth who are survivors of war and disasters, youth who are survivors of human trafficking, children of prisoners, street children and high school and college dropouts.
Caritas Manila is a staunch supporter of food security and sustainable Philippine agriculture. This has trickled down to YSLEP beneficiaries with 244 scholars presently enrolled in agriculture and related courses. YSLEP has 3 demo farms in the Diocese of San Carlos, Negros Occidental; Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; and Diocese of Lucena, Quezon Province. YSLEP is also into hydroponics farming.
YSLEP graduates automatically become members of Caritas Manila Scholars Association (CAMASA). The organization has a Balik-Handog program that encourages successful members to give back and help existing YSLEP scholars. In 2022, CAMASA members raised P5,462,877.55 through personal donations and fundraising activities. To date, there are 92 CAMASA chapters nationwide with 2,873 active members.
Fr. Pascual strongly believes that the path out of poverty is education. “Education is a social equalizer. Not everyone is given the grace of completing his education. We want our scholars to become servant leaders following in the footsteps of Christ who came not to be served but to serve and who offered his life for the salvation of many.”
Help Caritas Manila help others, call 8562-8556 or 8562-0020 (to 25) loc. 141 or 142, 0905-428-5001 or 0929-834-3857. Log on to www.caritasmanila.org.ph, visit www.facebook.com/OfficialCaritasManila, Instagram @officialcaritasmanila and Twitter @CaritasManila.