All her life, Almira has dreamt of becoming a teacher. She has always wanted to make a difference in the world. She believed that teaching would give her the opportunity to touch the lives of the younger generation.
But like millions of Filipino youth, Almira didn’t have access to secondary education due to poverty. Data from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) estimates that there are 1.2 million out of school youth in the country today, mostly due to the scarcity of funds.
Knowing the importance of education to achieve her dreams, Almira persevered and became one of the chosen students selected for the SYKES scholarship program. Sponsored by SYKES in partnership with Springboard Foundation, 49 students were given a chance to receive support for their education at Sienna College Night High School program. They were also given educational aide until they finished a degree in college.
After hundreds of academic hours, hard work, and sheer determination, Almira successfully graduated from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in 2016. Nine other scholars have also completed their college degrees in the same year, while two others are still pursuing their 5-year courses. On the other hand, the rest of the scholars have decided to pursue other opportunities right after finishing the program to further assist their families.
“I am so happy that I was finally able to finish my college degree. I am so grateful for SYKES and Springboard Foundation for giving me the opportunity to study and follow my dreams,” said Almira.
“We are extremely proud of what our scholars have achieved. Education has always been one of the most important pillars of our advocacies because we believe that it’s a crucial tool for the youth to improve their prospects in life,” shares Dean Van Ormer, SYKES’ Vice President for Philippine Operations.
Over the past two decades, SYKES has spearheaded corporate social responsibility campaigns across different sectors through their philanthropic arm, SYKES Cares. Aside from their flagship scholarship program for the Night High School in cooperation with Springboard Foundation, they have also successfully worked with Children’s Hour to provide support for 15 Computer Hardware Servicing students at Miriam College Adult Education.
Other initiatives that have furthered the company’s advocacy were the construction of facilities in chosen public schools like the computer laboratory for Kalayaan Elementary School in Paranaque, and the library and additional classrooms for the Philippine Christian Foundation School in Tondo. They have also donated computer units to Zapales Elementary School in Cebu, and is currently supporting the Paknaan Day Care Center through SYKES Cares’ adopt-a-school program.
Besides their educational thrust, SYKES is also active in disaster relief operations, providing help for the victims of typhoons thru distribution of food, clothing, and medicines. They have also engaged in the house building efforts for the Yolanda survivors in Daan Banatayan, Cebu in partnership with Gawad Kalinga.
Aside from the SYKES Cares initiated events, employees have also actively taken part by volunteering and staging their own activities to reach out to those who are in need. SYKES CHOICES and INVOLVE, the company’s interest clubs, as well as SYKES’ operation teams have put up numerous efforts and donation drives to provide help for communities in rural areas, orphanages, and schools, among many others.
“Over the past 20 years, we have continuously made an effort to extend assistance whether through educational programs, disaster relief, or any other efforts that could create an impact on their lives. Globally, SYKES is really committed to helping out the community, and our vision is to unceasingly provide support as the years go by. As we continue to grow, we also continue to strive on providing one caring interaction at a time, not only to our clients and employees, but also to the community that has helped us to achieve where we are today,” said Mike Henderson, SYKES Senior Vice President for Regional Operations (APAC).
SYKES is the acknowledged pioneer call center in the Philippines. From only 14 employees in 1997, the company has vastly grown and is now providing livelihood for 15,000 Filipinos. They currently have six sites in the Philippines, including their newest office in Alabang.