EDC’s SIKAT Program: Bringing Filipino Youth to great new heights

Providing opportunities in education is one of the best ways to attain social and economic progress. The SIKAT Program, EDC’s end-to-end support for qualified marginalized Filipino youth, encompasses scholarships, mentoring support, scholars’ engagement activities, and career placement after graduation. Qualified students can choose from academic, technical vocation, and skill-based scholarship grants. In contrast with other scholarships, the SIKAT grants put the scholars’ interests, abilities, and capacities first, regardless of track.

EDC believes in investing in education and uplifting the youth to break generational poverty. Through education, we can harness future changemakers and nation builders. In 2021, we had 120 SIKAT scholars enrolled in various campuses of the University of the Philippines (UP) and other state universities and colleges. It is also worth noting that 10 of these scholars were funded by fundraising activities and the Adopt-a-Scholar initiative of the EDC employees, launched in September 2021.

Through SIKAT, we ensure our scholars are workforce-ready through job-preparedness webinars and job placements. From the 2021 and 2020 batches, 10 out of 13 graduates are currently employed, with one presently working in an EDC-supported organization. Further, four out of seven graduates from our 2018 and 2019 batches who became unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic are now working with EDC as well.

In addition, EDC has commenced its career internship program abroad in partnership with the Counselors for Immigration and International Studies (CIS). The program aims to equip our scholars further as they work towards their regenerative future. Together with CIS, a qualified SIKAT scholar will be given a chance to intern and learn from host schools and educational sponsors in the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, and New Zealand.

Renato Bueno, CIS President and CEO, said it had been his long-time goal to help Filipino students as he is committed to the belief that the next generation is the country’s hope. He said the primary purpose of CIS is to give Filipinos opportunities for a better life, and one of the keys to this better life is through education and employment opportunities.

EDC also collaborated with the Department of Education (DepEd) and 48 partner schools and institutions, together with the National Bookstore Foundation, to give out notebooks, pad papers, writing instruments, and crayons to 14,790 students. In addition, EDC launched the MakiPAPEL donation drive through SIKAT fundraising to help elementary school students receive their learning modules. The activity raised PHP 144,028, which provided 800 reams of bond paper in 74 partner schools.

In December 2021, EDC held the SIKAT Christmas Basket Donation Drive that generated PHP 149,000 for the scholars — wherein PHP 96,000 was used to purchase Christmas food baskets for their families, and the remaining PHP 53,000 was allocated to the SIKAT scholarship fund.

On our Ilocos Norte site, 862 Samsung tablets were also donated to the provincial government through EDC Burgos Windpower Corporation to assist the students in online classes.