Ashoka, an NGO committed to supporting and enabling leading social innovators worldwide, has officially inducted the newest batch of social innovators during The Ashoka Induction and Fellowship Launch.
During The online event hosted by Ashoka Philippines, the three outstanding social innovators, now tagged as the “changemakers”, have championed inclusive and system-changing innovations to their communities, making them worthy of the recognition and be part of the lifelong Ashoka Fellowship program.
During the event, Ashoka Philippines’ Country Manager Terri Jayme-Mora led the induction in honoring the following Changemakers, whose organizations help Filipinos around the country go beyond social, economic, and cultural limitations and help them achieve so much more for their communities while taking down barriers and regressive systems:
Ryan Gersava, co-founder of Virtualahan
Ben Abadiano, co-founder of Pamulaan Center of Indigenous Peoples (IP) Education
Scott Stiles, co-founder of Fair Employment Foundation
Building systems-changing solutions for Filipinos everywhere
“We have it in us, the power to create positive change, the ability to turn our impossibles around. I hope that my journey could serve as an example that everyone can be a changemaker, “ says Ryan Gervasa, one of the three inductees. The youngest Ashoka Fellow from the Philippines, Ryan was diagnosed with Hepatitis B which left him barred from having access to his dream job. As a result, Gervasa co-founded Virtualahan, an enterprise that uses cost-effective and transferable social technology that allows socially excluded populations to access work in the global digital economy, with focus on holistic coaching and education to further their efforts. In 2019, 78% of Virtualahan graduates reported an increase in their self-confidence, 98% felt a strong sense of belonging, 84% learned to become self-sufficient, and an astounding 92% credit Virtualahan for helping them accept their condition.
Education for all
Ben Abadiano lived with the Manobo Tribe in Bukidnon and Mangyan Tribe in Oriental Mindoro, where he put up a school of the indigenous peoples (IPs) called Tugdaan as a way to address the strong desire of community elders for a school that teaches the youth to value their culture and heritage. In 2006, Ben established the first-ever tertiary-level program for indigenous peoples in the Philippines – the Pamulaan Center of Indigenous Peoples Education. The alumni of Pamulaan’s 4-year degree courses are now youth leaders working in IP communities, development organizations, government, and as teachers, community facilitators, agriculturists, anthropologists, and trainers in the private sector.
Fair employment for Filipino Domestic Workers across Asia
Lastly, Scott Stiles opened Fair Employment Foundation back in 2014 as a means to address the harsh conditions migrant domestic workers across Asia are being subjected to. Their mission is to build and test ethical recruitment agencies and training center models, which seek to make exploitative recruitment unprofitable. Stiles, alongside his co-founders, built Fair Employment Foundation to shift the current model to a more fair and holistic one that greatly benefits the domestic migrant worker and their families in the long-term. Scott intends to make the Fair Employment Model a blueprint for ethical and sustainable models for employment agencies and training centers across Asia.
Inclusive and long-lasting change for the Filipino people
In a world that is defined by rapid and constant change, there is a deep inequality between those who feel powerless to cope and those who have the skills and leadership to thrive and drive change. Ashoka envisions and works for an “Everyone is a Changemaker” world where each individual has the freedom, confidence, and societal support to address any social problem.
About Ashoka Philippines
Ashoka Philippines is part of Ashoka worldwide – an NGO committed to supporting and enabling leading social innovators around the world. Founded in 1980, Ashoka pioneered and helped establish the field of social entrepreneurship. There are now over 3,500 Ashoka Fellows in 93 countries who are working in all fields – from health and human rights to education and the environment.
Since 2013, Ashoka has been electing Ashoka Fellows from the Philippines. Ashoka is also nurturing a culture of changemaking through creative coalitions, knowledge sharing, and open collaboration with multi-sector partners who look to entrepreneurial talent and new ideas to solve social problems.