are more challenging for her. She had worked as a cashier at a resort, and later on as a product
inspector at a manufacturing company, but she felt the need to look for something better to be able to
provide for her son and secure a better future for them both. “I left because I really needed to find a
However, finding a good job proved challenging for Merlilia because she only finished one year
of college. She had heard about call centers and the opportunities they offered, so she applied as an
agent at a well-known multinational company. But she didn’t make the cut.
That didn’t stop her from giving it another shot, though. In July 2012, a friend told her about the
free online call center training offered by a website called Kalibrr, and she took it immediately.
fully-owned subsidiary Kickstart Ventures, Inc. invested $100,000 in the company in November 2012
because it believed in Kalibrr’s mission to help people through learning and employment.
Kickstart President Minette Navarrete says, “We hear a lot about the positive economic
sentiment in the Philippines today. Kalibrr is demonstrating its commitment to helping uplift Filipinos;
and Kickstart is committed to supporting Kalibrr.”
Merlilia shares that through Kalibrr, “Doon ko natunan lahat tungkol sa computers, BPOs, call
centers. Before that, zero talaga yung knowledge ko tungkol sa industry. I had training before, but it
wasn’t enough.” (That’s where I learned everything about computers, BPOs, call centers. Before that, I
had zero knowledge about the industry.)
She completed the Kalibrr program in a week, and things soon started looking up. Kalibrr
immediately referred her to one of its partner companies for a job interview. “It’s because of Kalibrr
I gained self-confidence. With the online training, tapos yung mga (and the) interviews, I gained self-
confidence. Natuto rin ako (I also learned) how to speak with people,” she says. Needless to say, she got
Merlilia started working at Sutherland, a multinational company in Taguig City in August 2012.
“Madugo!” (grueling!) she exclaims with a laugh when asked how it’s been going. It’s a lot of hard work,
but she enjoys the challenge. She’s constantly pushing herself to do her best and adapt. She also takes
deep pride in her work. “Kasi dati, kapag nakakita ako ng agent, iniisip ko, ‘yan, magaling mag English
yan. Mga high paid yan.’ Parang ganoon. Kasi mataas sila. Now I’m one of them! I work in a call center!
Parang gusto ko siyang ipagmalaki.”
and is paid well.’ I thought highly of them. Now I’m one of them! I work in a call center! It’s something
I’m proud of.)
Today, five months into her job, Merlilia is more content than she ever was. While she admits
to the job being stressful at times, she says she’s up to the challenge. She’s now more adept at using a
computer and various programs, and more importantly, feels more confident about the job. “I feel like a
career woman now!” she exclaims with a laugh.
“I’m blessed that Kalibrr introduced me here because hindi ko naman kilala yung Sutherland
dati. Wala akong knowledge pagdating sa call center, tapos wala pa akong confidence. (I’m blessed that
Kalibrr introduced me here because I didn’t know Sutherland before. I didn’t know anything about call
centers, and I didn’t have the confidence.)
and taught me how to answer interview questions, ang saya-saya ko talaga (I’m really happy)!
She’s optimistic about being regularized, and is happy about the incentives she gets. More than
the material things, however, what Merlilia is grateful for is the sense of hope and accomplishment she
gets from growing her career and helping the people who matter to her the most.
For Merlilia, this is only the beginning. As Kickstart’s Minette Navarrete envisions it, “with
Kalibrr’s radical innovation and purposeful execution, we see Merlilia striding confidently into a happier,
brighter future – and we see many more Merlilia’s walking into that future with her.”