It all started one autumn afternoon of 2020…
It is very seldom in one’s life that you bump into someone you felt very connected with, even though you just met for the first time. Then you exchange pleasantries online and agreed to meet during your coffee break. During the meeting you catch up about your careers, and discuss the state of the country due to the prevalence of COVID. You also asked random questions like: ‘Why do you both work in a foreign land?’, ‘When can you travel back to your home country – the Philippines?’
Little that you know that the first short conversation will be followed by another, and another, and another. Until one day, you both decided that the next meet up will be you planning on the rudiments of the non-profit organization that you wanted to put up. After all, you are both tired of uncertainties and things you can’t control, so you just wanted to create something that you both value and are passionate about. Passion for digital literacy, technology, innovation, tech community, knowledge sharing – all the good things that can make this world a little bit better. After three months, you decided to register the organization as a non-profit entity in Denmark.
And that is how ULAP.org – Underrepresented-youth Learning Assistance Program started.
Did it start with funding, people, and resources in place? No.
It began with a bit of spice and everything nice – ambition, values, and bravery.
And here we are celebrating our one-year journey of creating, thriving, and thinking of a future full of hope.
This month marks our 1st anniversary, and we couldn’t be prouder to have fostered a community that cares for each other, selfless, and empathetic. A community that is ambitious and looks forward to a brighter career for the underrepresented youth. A community that is hopeful for a tech-driven world, starting with our home country – the Philippines.
Today we recognize and celebrate our most significant milestone, our people. Firstly, we have 25 active community leaders and 230+ members in Meetup who co-created and supported us in achieving our mission. In addition, we accepted ten scholars and three interns blooming to be the best version of themselves. Lastly, we have multiple tech communities, companies, organizations, and media partners that endlessly helped us in our endeavors.
In a year, we were able to organize six Community Days and multiple community meetups participated by more than 40 speakers, which are tech practitioners and experts. Among the topics discussed are careers in cloud computing, introduction to cloud computing and multi-cloud, introduction to AWS, Alibaba Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. The said events can be viewed in our Youtube channel.
We introduced our ten scholars last September 2021, and we also opened an internship position last August 2021. Each of our ten scholars has an individual mentor guiding them on their career and tech upskilling.
For example, here is one story of our scholar Anna sharing her mentorship experience with Jonah.
Our scholars also attended numerous cloud computing training and certification programs like AWS Educate -by Edukasyon.ph and Alibaba ACA Instructor-led training. Two of our scholars, Theron and Kevin and previous intern Reniel shared their Alibaba and AWS certification journey on our anniversary Community Day event. In addition, the scholars are continuously experiencing a wealth of upskilling opportunities using the Luna Academy platform.
We participated in more than 20 different tech events organized by non-profit, non-government, and government organizations, schools, and other communities. Some of these events are FTWConf, Philippine Tech Community Week, Impact 2050 Education, Developer Day, Young CTO Tech Talks, International Youth Day, Community Ignite: Edukasyon Para sa Propesyong Teknolohiya, Cloud Eskwela, AWS Study Group, Child International: STEM for All, UNTAG Indonesia Event, EU in the PH: The Race Towards Data Science to Boost the Digital Economy, PUP: Futures Thinking International Webinar 2021, Azure User Group meetups, Azure Skane – Malmo, and many more!
We want to express our heartfelt appreciation to our organization partners: Zonta Club of Makati & Environs, AWS User Group Philippines, Azure User Group Manila, Philippine Embassy- Denmark, Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, Universitas 17 Agustus 1945 – Indonesia, Philippine Tech Community, Azure User Group Sweden, Mozilla Philippines, Two Cents, Edukasyon.ph and AWS Siklab. Our premium sponsors: Alibaba Cloud, Dewise, CloudSwyft, Luna Academy, and Studio Hero. Also, our utmost appreciation is given to our Community Days partners last year: Microsoft and AWS. We would also like to thank media organizations who featured our organization and our story: Manila Bulletin, Bobreyes.com, Subselfie, and GMA News.
It feels like just a blink of an eye, and now we’re here, more excited for the future of this small yet ambitious organization. We are so grateful to everyone who has put such an effort into building our mission-driven community.
Watch our anniversary community day event last March 26:
See the related article written by our Founder, Marilag – Did you remember to list your why’s?
Writers and contributors: Michelle Tabirao (Founder), Marilag Dimatulac (Founder), Hazel Cherry Tabirao (Community Manager), Orland Tubola (Adviser), Marielle Juat (Community Lead)