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Children of Former Muslim Rebels Among Graduates of First Ladderized Course

APS  with the students of the Ladderized Course

 “When I first joined the program, I was not interested because I thought that there is no bright future in farming, but as our classes continued, I realized that being a farmer is a noble work”. This is the sentiment echoed by Ashmira Bantog, one of the Honor Students during the Graduation Ceremonies of the 4-month Intensive Training on Natural Farming Systems and Animal Production at the Dona Laureana School for Practical Agriculture in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte on June 6, 2014. The sentiment is commonly shared by almost all of the students. One even said that she realized that “farming is the best way to become a Millionaire”. Other learnings cited by the graduates include the necessity of perseverance, hardwork and sacrifice in order to  succeed. They were happy to point out that the differences of the Muslim and Christian culture did not hinder the friendship developed in the class.

The training is the first Ladderized Course conducted by the partnership of the Foundation for People’s Development, the Agricultural Training Institute and the Local Government of Kauswagan. The graduates are composed mostly of the families of Rebel Returnees and some Indigent Out-of-School Youths from the Municipalities of Munai, Tangkal and Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte. Out of the 40 initial enrollees, only 36 were conferred as graduates. All the graduates have also taken and passed the TESDA Certification in Animal Production.
The program entails one week of in-school lectures and three weeks of practicum per month.  The lectures were conducted by the Saniel Integrated Technical School from Zamboanga del Sur while the practicum were done in the LGU-operated Integrated Organic Farm and the farms of ATI learning site partners such as Mr. Aga Dimakuta, Mr. Malic Macabato and Mr. Julito Mahilum Sr.