Empowering moms to survive the challenges of digital learning

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    The graduates of the E-Nanay program of Malabon City government with Mayor Lenlen Oreta (in pink, center)

    During the early days of the pandemic, Delma Marimon and Anale Cagalitan, both stay-at-home moms in Malabon City, found themselves wearing more hats — they are not only moms, nurses, or cooks, they became the teacher/ tutor of their kids as online learning was implemented at home.

    Both admit that at first it was a challenging task as they are not “techie” moms since they only know very little about computers and online programs. “When my kids would ask me about checking emails or approving Zoom sessions for their online classes, I admit that I was so afraid as I didn’t know anything about online stuff,” said Delma in Filipino. “I realized that in order to help our kids learn during this time, we have to also learn on our own and equip ourselves with the digital tools.”

    Both Nanays do not have to go far or spend too much just to learn. In October 2020, the Malabon City LGU launched a new program specifically to “transform stay-at-home Nanays into E-Nanays.” Last December 21, 2020, a graduation program presented E-Nanays Delma and Anale, who were among the 50 graduates. The socially-distant rite was held at the City of Malabon University (CMU).

    “I want to personally congratulate the 50 certified E-Nanays who graduated today. Now, you are capable of delivering learning to your children and helping them in their education at home,” said Malabon Mayor Lenlen Oreta, also CMU’s President. “As the first LGU and first local college university (LCU) to implement this kind of project, this program is a true example of converting challenges into opportunities. Nanays become E-Nanays who are digital-ready to face the future.”

    Mayor Oreta and First Lady Melissa Oreta, together with Malabon City Councilor Enzo Oreta, presented the certificates to the graduates. Councilor Oreta also donated five desktop computers for the use of the E-Nanays. They were joined by the team behind the E-Nanay Tutorial Program, which includes Professor Maria Luisa Tongco, who supervised the students and mothers from start to graduation; Dean Gloria Gomez, University Secretary Engr. Sheila Villanueva, and Professor Maria Catherine Arboleda. The Mayor also cited the 50 senior College of Teacher Education (CTE) students who became the “private tutors” of the Nanays.

    One of the student-tutors commended the graduates as they saw how passionate each Nanay was to learn in order to keep up with their children’s education. With the close bond forged between Nanay and student-tutor, the Nanays now have an “extended” child. As each name was called, tears flowed during the graduation rites, with the Nanays sending their utmost appreciation to the team behind the program.

    “I want to thank the people who are behind this E-Nanay program. This gave us another chance at learning. Even amid the pandemic, there are still people who care, and who gave us time and effort to teach us one by one, even answering all our questions,” said Anale. “We are truly grateful as we now feel empowered with our new learnings.”

    The 50 graduates of the E-Nanay program underwent hands-on training to ensure that each one is truly learning, and trial-and-errors are minimized. They learned the important Microsoft office programs, how to email and use different Facebook functions, and how to assist their kids during online learning sessions. They were trained at CMU’s computer laboratories.

    One positive aspect of the program is that the 50 student-tutors have also fulfilled the time requirements for their OJT. They don’t have to find other venues to fulfill their OJT requirements, as their assistance in the program ensures that their education is not delayed.

    The delight of Anale was also reflected in the sentiment of other Nanays. Most are delighted with the fact that they are now also able to adapt to the new normal way of life, pay utilities using digital apps, and even purchase products online. They feel “important” once again, and ready to face the challenges of a new year. Why not? They are more than just Nanays.