This is part of a series of YouthSpark profiles where we highlight young people in Asia who are dedicated to changing the world through technology, and inspiring others along the way.
BIOA student at De La Salle University, Gianisse Marie Adamantopoulos, also known as ‘Gigi’, combines her passion for music and technology by reaching out to other young, like-minded music enthusiasts in the Philippines. She aspires to introduce young people to the latest software, online materials and social media as an alternate avenue to realise their talents and achieve their musical ambitions. An avid musician, Gigi enjoys creating her own music in her free time.Tell us one exciting thing that you have been working on in the past 3–6 months.
I belong to a school team that recently implemented the Microsoft Student Partners Programme. Over the past few months, we have been playing an active role in encouraging both freshmen and sophomore students at our school to embrace the use of technology to solve common issues that they may face on a daily basis. Besides my involvement with this school-related project, I have been trying my hand at producing sound mixes and musical recordings with the use of a variety of music software.
What are some of the challenges facing youth today that concern you the most?
I find that my generation tends to experience the pressures of life at a much earlier age. Among my peers, there are a lot of young people who are already feeling overwhelmed by practical considerations, such as the need to earn a good living to sustain their needs, and end up conforming to social norms — rather than pursuing their own dreams to create something that is truly new and innovative.
If you had the ability to create one change in the world, what would that be and how can technology help you achieve this change?
I would like to reach out to young people across the world and share with them the message that new technology, such as social media platforms, can help change their lives and shape a better future. Using social media, I want to do my part in spreading the message that technology enables them to continue pursuing their dreams and ambitions, without having to sacrifice their civic duties or personal obligations.
I’m inspired by… those who are willing to persevere against all odds in order to find success in their lives and careers.
OCCUPATION PROGRAMME DIRECTOR, TEN ACCOMPLISHED YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS FOUNDATION
BIOAs the programme director of Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations Foundation, Anthony Luigi De Vera has worked with various organisations to empower young Filipinos to make a positive impact on society. Luigi recently headed the media and communications team for Youth Vote Philippines, a network of youth groups working toward voters’ education and empowerment. He also founded a nonprofit programme named Empower Philippines to broaden opportunities for young people to work at various local government agencies to nurture their interest in social projects.
Tell us one exciting thing that you have been working on in the past 3–6 months.
I led the communications efforts for Youth Vote Philippines’ 2013 campaign to educate and drive awareness among our young voters about the importance of voting, as well as helped in the redesign of our online portal. I’ve also been travelling across the country to spread the word about how young people can become more engaged in our nation’s political process. In April, I was invited by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to share my experiences in community projects with various Thai youth groups in Bangkok.
A key challenge is the lack of opportunities that young Filipinos face in realising their dreams. There are many youth groups in the Philippines who are committed to solving social problems related to education, health, livelihood and the environment, but do not have the access to the latest information technology resources to develop their own projects.
I would like to transform the field of education, and help to provide every child with ample educational opportunities. With the prevalence of mobile technology, I see a great potential for the development of an app with a database of children who require funding assistance for their education. Helping a child go to school with just one click on a phone or a tablet is a great way to address the opportunity gap.
I’m inspired by… stories of courage and patriotism — such as the real-life story of Janela Lelis, a student who risked her life to save the Philippine Flag during the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Juaning in 2011.
To forge stronger relationships and facilitate greater knowledge sharing among non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Microsoft Korea has recently revamped its annual NGO Connection Day event with the aim of adding more seminars and training sessions to the programme.
The newly named NGO Cloud Day will now be held four times a year in various locations across the country, and will include a greater focus on skills development in information and communication technology (ICT) — as well as introducing Microsoft’s latest cloud technologies such as SkyDrive® to boost work collaboration.
Wong Jin Jung, Enterprise Strategy Consultant at Microsoft Korea, said, “There is growing interest among nonprofits and NGOs in South Korea to learn more about cloud computing. We believe the new NGO Cloud Day programme will provide a platform for us to introduce how our cloud-based technology can help them improve work efficiency and better serve local communities.”
In September last year, the nationwide NGO Cloud Day programme kicked off in the city of Cheongju, through a partnership with the Korea Association of Social Workers (KASW), Chung Buk Association of Social Workers and Community Chest of Korea to hold a one-day event at the Social Welfare Centre of Chungcheong Buk-Do.
Around 50 social workers from Cheongju City and neighbouring Cheongwon County attended the event, where they learned more about leveraging cloud computing for the NGO sector and how to make better use of PowerPoint applications, as well as Microsoft's software donation programme.
“The NGO Cloud Day in Cheongju also enabled social workers in the region to get together to discuss common issues they face in their nonprofit activities,” added Ray Jo, Corporate Affairs Manager, Microsoft Korea.
The second NGO Cloud Day was held in November 2012 in Gwang-ju, one of the burgeoning hub cities for NGOs. Partnering with two influential local partners, Gwang-ju NGO Civic Foundation and the KASW, Microsoft executives shared its vision of bridging the technology divide for underserved communities in South Korea.
A total of 62 participants from the NGO sector attended the event, which also provided the opportunity for Microsoft’s partners to share their own experience of using ICT. Yong-chae Kim, the Chairman of Gwang-ju NGO Civic Foundation, stressed the importance for NGOs to stay at the forefront of technology change and innovations.
In the second half of the Gwang-ju event, a team of Microsoft Korea professionals provided an overview of how NGOs can make use of cloud-based applications to address their specific ICT requirements in a cost-effective manner. Microsoft also conducted a survey to better understand the technology challenges NGOs face and which cloud software is most commonly used by social workers.
In February this year, 105 NGO participants gathered at Microsoft Korea’s premises in Seoul for the third NGO Cloud Day.
Jointly organised with the KASW, NGO Cloud Day in Seoul, under the theme of ‘Smart Work, Smart Collaboration’, aimed to improve work efficiency and encourage stronger collaboration processes among NGOs. In her keynote address, Hye Jyung Lee, a Senior Manager at the National Information Society Agency of South Korea, touched on how the country’s smart work policy is impacting local NGOs and nonprofits.
The participants attended an in-depth training session covering topics such as the use of Microsoft SkyDrive to boost work collaboration and a tutorial on OneNote® and OneNote apps for Android and iOS platforms — making this the first time a OneNote learning session has been conducted at an NGO Cloud Day event.
Overall, each of the NGO Cloud Day events attracted a healthy turnout, and most of the participants were impressed with the technology expertise showcased by Microsoft.
“We are greatly encouraged by the strong turnout of NGO Cloud Days, and we hope to continue working closely with NGOs in South Korea to spread our social efforts more widely across the nation,” said Sunny Park, Legal and Corporate Affairs Lead, Microsoft Korea.
“We are greatly encouraged by the strong turnout of NGO Cloud Days, and we hope to continue working closely with NGOs in South Korea to spread our social efforts more widely across the nation.”
- Sunny Park, Legal and Corporate Affairs Lead, Microsoft Korea
As the co-founder and Executive Director of Mano Amiga Academy, 27-year-old Eleanor Rosa Pinugu, known as ‘Lynn’ among family and friends, has set her sights on improving access to high-quality education in the Philippines and empowering children from impoverished communities to transform their lives.
Following her stint as an international youth volunteer in Mexico in 2006 where she was impressed by the spirit of volunteerism embodied by the students she encountered at the Mano Amiga Guanajuato School, Lynn was inspired to set up Mano Amiga Pilipinas in the city of Taguig in 2008.
Nonprofit Mano Amiga Academy is part of a global network of more than 30 Mano Amiga schools that have been established in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Venezuela.
“I had the privilege to work with many Mexican student volunteers who were themselves former beneficiaries of social programmes, and I believe it is these students’ genuine desire to serve their communities that plays a key role in the development of the learning facilities at the Mano Amiga School,” Lynn said.
The Altius Foundation, which operates the Mano Amiga Schools across Latin America, would later engage Lynn to spearhead the development of the school system in the Philippines and manage fundraising efforts for the establishment of the Mano Amiga Academy. Her efforts in extending education opportunities to economically disadvantaged children were recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which invited her to attend the 2012 WEF Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, as one of 70 ‘global shapers’.
As the head of Mano Amiga Academy, Lynn is responsible for evaluating how to make the best use of technology solutions work more efficiently and improve collaboration with community partners. In April 2012, Lynn was invited to participate in the Asia Pacific Innovate4Good@Microsoft summit in Singapore — which further enriched her knowledge and exposure to the transformative power of information technology (IT) to address a social need and make the world a better place.
“Despite being initially apprehensive about not being ‘techie’ enough, the summit really helped in opening up my perspective on the use of innovative technology to address operational challenges. The summit showcased the latest Microsoft technologies and demonstrated how young people can leverage the latest technology platforms to bring about social change,” Lynn said.
The Asia Pacific Innovate4Good@Microsoft summit prompted Lynn to step up the integration of IT technology across the education programmes at Mano Amiga Academy, and adopt relevant products and services that significantly enhance the learning experience for its students across a wide range of enrichment programmes and training seminars.
“Beyond providing access to high-quality education, one of the key initiatives at Mano Amiga Academy is to get more youth volunteers involved as role models for our students. We have noticed how increased interaction with youth volunteers has helped in improving our students’ social skills — instilling in them the confidence to make the most of the learning opportunities, transforming their lives,” said Lynn.
YouthSpark is a Microsoft companywide initiative designed to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries during the next three years. Through partnerships with governments, nonprofits and businesses, Microsoft aims to empower youth to imagine and realise their full potential by connecting them with greater education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. We want to empower youth to change their world.
Access a full list of Microsoft YouthSpark programmes.
Microsoft Vietnam employees raised VND36,800,000 (US$1,760) in donations and helped bring festive joy to the residents of the Centre of Nurturing Old People and Disabled Children during the Vietnamese New Year season.
On 1 February, a group of 20 employees visited the Hanoi-based Centre to present the donated items comprising diapers, wet tissues, toys, food, milk and other dairy products. During their visit, staff members also took the opportunity to personally interact with each of the residents.
“Being able to spend time playing with the children and getting to chat with the elderly residents at the Centre of Nurturing Old People and Disabled Children certainly enriched the whole experience for us. We are all delighted to have the opportunity to make a small but worthwhile contribution to improve the lives of the less fortunate and spread some festive cheer just before the New Year holidays,” said Duong Thi Kim Anh, HR director of Microsoft Vietnam.
The Centre of Nurturing Old People and Disabled Children accommodates more than 320 people, including 165 elderly people and 155 children. About two thirds of the young residents are handicapped or suffering from poor health and serious diseases such as cerebral palsy.
“We understand that this is a busy period of time for most people, having to balance their time between work and preparing for the Vietnamese New Year holiday. We are therefore very grateful for the generous donation and strong support shown by the Microsoft Vietnam employees in arranging this trip to visit the children and the elderly at the Centre. We are very happy and greatly appreciate the kindness and caring spirit shown by everyone who volunteered,” said Phung Cong Loi, Vice Director of the Centre of Nurturing Old People and Disabled Children.
“We are very grateful for the generous donation and strong support shown by the Microsoft Vietnam employees in arranging this trip to visit the children and the elderly at the Centre.”
- Phung Cong Loi, Vice Director, Centre of Nurturing Old People and Disabled Children
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