Partnership to give OFWs access to technology and training
CEBU CITY-- Microsoft Philippines and the Overseas Workers Welfare
Administration (OWWA) are expanding the reach of Unlimited Potential
“Tulay” to include OFW families based in Cebu. This
was marked by the formal launch of the UP Tulay facilities at
the OWWA center in Cebu.
This local launch is part of the second phase of Tulay, which
includes the opening of centers in the OWWA offices in Hong Kong
Unlimited Potential Tulay is a joint initiative of Microsoft
and OWWA that provides IT training and access to technology that
will enable OFW families to communicate via the Internet. More
than three thousand OFWs and their families are targeted to benefit
from the project.
The initiative is implemented in partnership with the Filipino
Workers Resource Center in Malaysia, and the Filipino Overseas
Workers in Singapore. More OFW communities in other countries
are planned to be included in Tulay in the near future.
Microsoft has donated roughly Php 4 million in cash and Php 3
million worth of software and training (estimated retail value)
for the first year of the project.
Tulay is part of Microsoft Unlimited Potential, a global initiative
focused on providing technology skills for underserved individuals.
Recipients of UP grants are public centers where people can gain
IT skills and training to help themselves and their communities.
Other UP Tulay Community Technology Learning Centers are located
at the office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)
in Pasay, the Bayanihan Center in Singapore, and the Philippine
Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Through UP Tulay, OFWs and their families will receive training
on basic computer applications such as Word, Excel (for simple
accounting and budgeting), and email/web functionalities. Those
already armed with the basic computing skills will be given advanced
courses. The community technology centers will also have facilities
where OFWs and their families can communicate via e-mail, video
conferencing, and MSN chat.
Overseas Filipino Workers are hailed as the “new heroes
of the Philippine economy” with their significant contribution,
in the form of regular remittances to the country, of an average
of $ 8 billion per year. Today, there are 7.4 million OFWs around
the world. An estimated 2,500 Filipinos leave daily to work abroad.
A large percentage of these workers face discrimination and abuse
in the countries where they work. OFWs also risk the disintegration
of the family and breakdown of marital ties due to physical separation
from their loved ones for prolonged periods.
Through UP Tulay, OFWs are expected to gain IT skills that enhance
the work they offer to their employers, increasing their value in
the workplace. The skills they learn will further help them gain
a competitive edge if they decide to return home or pursue another
career. The program also mitigates the social impact of working
overseas by using technology to connect OFWs and their families.
OFWs will also be able to keep abreast with the latest news and
events happening back home.
According to Microsoft Philippines Managing Director Antonio
“TJ” Javier, “UP Tulay is part of Microsoft’s
commitment to bridge the digital divide for OFWs. This program
helps OFWs to extend their skills through IT training, while at
the same time deepen their ties with their families.”
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide
leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal
and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products
and services designed to empower people through great software —
any time, any place and on any device.