Passerelles numériques (PN), a French non-profit organization operating in Southeast Asia, reached a milestone in February when they celebrated their first decade in the Philippines.
Originally born from an idea shared by the French NGO Enfants du Mekong and the international consulting company Accenture, Passerelles numériques began its operation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2005 to enable underprivileged youth to build their employability through education in the digital industry, and leverage their potential and willpower which will allow them and their family to escape poverty in a sustainable way, and contribute to the social and economic development of their country. It operates in two other countries, the Philippines and Vietnam.
It expanded its mission in the Philippines in 2009 in Talamban, Cebu City with a pilot class of 25 scholars who joined the 3-year full-time training program on Systems and Network Administration (SNA) in collaboration with the University of San Carlos (USC). The students took a leap of faith and left their families to begin their incredible journey as scholars of Passerelles numériques.
The students underwent a rigorous training, from professional life training to high-level of soft skills, from technical and practical training to social and educational development. Material support such as accommodation, equipment, medical care, and financial support were also provided for. The students were also guided through both their internships and job search and closely supported by the organization’s program partners. Within two months after finishing the program, they were able to find employment in the IT industry in Cebu and Manila.
During the last ten years, PN Philippines has continually produced globally competent and highly skilled IT graduates with 402 youth whose lives have been impacted including the lives of their families. In 2018 alone, the last class of 47 students who graduated in April earns an average income of PHP 15,150—a 200% increase from their previous average household income of around PHP 5,000 before they were selected for PN. Thirty percent (30%) of their income goes to their family as support for their daily needs, education, housing, and other additional costs. Currently, there are 172 students who are enrolled in the 2.5-year program with 42 of them who are expected to graduate this May.
To match the technical skills provided in the new education curriculum of K-12, PN Philippines revised its curriculum in 2018. This reform aims to align and improve the Philippine education to worldwide standards with students proceeding to vocational training or the university following grade 12, instead of grade 10. This is also to ensure the quality and timeliness of their training program that is practical, targeted and certified. Currently, PNP provides a 2.5-year full time training program with specializations in Java Enterprise Programming, Front-end Development, and Automated Software Testing.
PN Philippines General Manager Marice Jade Chua expresses her pride and gratitude following this important landmark in the history of PN Philippines. “Reaching a decade in the Philippines is a great milestone for Passerelles numériques. It is all takes to our current and previous staffs who diligently and continually support our students to reach their dreams. PN is of course always grateful to our partners for their trust and belief in our mission for without them, we can’t possibly reach this momentous achievement.”
Throughout its years of operation, PN Philippines has built a large network of partners who have furthered their social action. Partners such as Accenture, Aboitiz, Knowles, Kyocera, Lear, iComm International, Timex and 35 others have made the efforts of PN Philippines a success through training support. NGO partners and private companies such as Children’s Hour, EMPower, J.P. Morgan, Narrasoft, Ubisoft, and many others have supported PN Philippines through financial aids and awareness campaigns.
Anna Marie Ebonalo, who graduated in 2012, shares her story about how PN changed her life. “I am forever indebted and grateful to PN. I was able to send my sister to college and she now works in Accenture and has a brighter future ahead of her. I have two other siblings I am currently supporting and their future also looks promising. Little by little, I have achieved my dreams.”
In line with their 10th anniversary, PN Philippines has prepared a lot of activities for their students, alumni and partners. One of these is the upcoming graduation of its 8th batch of scholars.