She was not supposed to be invited for the Rural Impact Sourcing Technical Training (RISTT) but Racquel Sarah Castro won’t let an opportunity to grow and inspire others slip past her.

Racquel has the proper background and skills on IT, serving for the City Government of Biñan, Laguna for years now. She also has the passion and determination to become an online entrepreneur as she sees it as a way to uplift their lives.

“Online businesses are the new stepping stone in being an entrepreneur,” she said.

That is why when she heard about the DICT’s Digital PH program, she immediately took her chance and applied. After all, the RISTT provides beneficiaries with up-to-date training to promote and develop the online freelancing industry and home-based outsourcing.

Despite her credentials, though, the program evaluators still expressed their doubts if she can finish the rigorous 5-week training since Racquel deals with cerebral palsy.

Biñan Mayor Arman Dimaguila came to support Racquel’s case, attesting to her sheer dedication amid her physical condition. It did not take long before she repaid Mayor Dimaguila and everyone who believes her.

On 17 September, during the RISTT Graduation in Biñan, she was not only an RISTT completer but was also recognized as the top performer of her batch.

Power of words

Racquel draws her motivation from her sick father who is undergoing dialysis thrice a week. She recognizes that she needs to earn more so she can support her dad financially.

“I know I have to do something for him because I wanted him to be there on my wedding day,” the 34-year old Racquel shared with a laugh.

Fortunately, she did not find a hard time excelling in the path where she is now –thanks to her passion on writing. She has a collection of unpublished literary works, as well as 10 independently published books. She also writes articles, poems, and short stories in her blog site.

Words truly become a rallying force for Racquel and it naturally translated in her venture to the field of content writing and web designing. “Sobrang pareho lang ng programming and writing because they rely on words and word play,“ she shared.

Now, she is devoted to spread the word that technology is an inclusive tool to her fellow PWDs.

“I would be helping my fellow persons with disability to engage in online jobs. I want to share the knowledge to eradicate that ‘pahingi naman po, kasi PWD kami [thinking]’. I want  my fellow PWDs to be productive and independent at the same time,” she said.

Like a brilliant author, Racquel is persevering to write a better story for her and her fellow PWDs,

Image of success

“The Rural Impact Sourcing Technical Training, it changed my life.”

That was the first statement of Racquel in her testimony speech, which brought Undersecretary Monchito B. Ibrahim and the RISTT team to tears.

Ibrahim, who leads the countryside and Digital PH initiatives of the Department, vows to continue widening the reach of RIS and impacting the lives of Filipinos of any condition.

Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. echoed Ibrahim, emphasizing that the DICT’s mission must be always centered on helping the likes of Rachel get more opportunities with ICT. For him, it is the greatest measure of success for the emerging department.

“Useless ito kung wala yung mga gagamit,” said Rio, relating it to the current DICT initiatives like the National Broadband Plan and the Free Wi-Fi in Public Places Program.

“Ito yung dapat nating ipakalat na lahat ng ating ginagawa ay para sa isang Rachel at paano natin maimprove ang buhay nila.”