Who spearheaded the Project Wifi?
This was started by 6 law school friends — Peachy Garcia, Rafa Reyes, Lawrence Paras, David Magbanua, K Santos, Patricia Roma, and Jasper Young
What inspired the nominee to kickstart the project?
A couple of days after ECQ was implemented all over the Philippines, 1 of the founders randomly asked in our group chat if we wanted to adopt “student scholars” of our own that we could help financially with their learning amidst the pandemic. As we have personally experienced online learning during the ECQ, we recognized the possible difficulties of less-privileged students once the country shifts to online learning.
As the number of COVID cases started to rise and strict quarantine measures were implemented all over the country, there were many posts online about students not being able to transition to online classes, not having the financial means to sustain internet costs, and not having the proper knowledge to operate and transition to a blended learning style approach… Thus, we decided to start something helpful amidst the pandemic.
What were the objectives?
Initially, our objective was for each of us to adopt at least 3 scholars. There are 7 members in our team so that would amount to around 84,000 pesos or 16,000 pesos each. When we realized that there were more students than really needed help, we decided to go big and reach out to as many donors and beneficiaries all over the Philippines by creating the Project WiFi social media accounts. For this project, our mission is to cover the student beneficiaries internet costs for an entire semester by providing free pocket wifi devices and prepaid load for five months.
How did the nominee creatively maximize his/her resources?
We utilized our social media pages to create a following and initiated marketing campaigns that were shared, commented on, and liked by thousands of users online. In addition, our campaigns were shared by prominent celebrity figures that we were able to tap in order for us to reach a wider following.
How did the project come together?
It was a collective effort wherein all of us contributed to how the project was going to come about. It was a matter of being inspired and motivated by the surrounding events that were happening across the country at that time. We all had come into a sudden realization that we could actually do something to help students like us across the country and to be able to uplift Filipinos in a way that we all have always wanted to. We opened our online application form at the same time that we are pooling donations. We release beneficiaries in batches depending on the availability of pooled funds.
If any, in what form are the contributions and where did they come from?
Most donors donate cash through our donation channels – GCash, bank transfer, and PayPal. However, there are also some donors who donated used pocket wifi devices in their homes. Donations come from anywhere around the world. While most are individuals from the Philippines and OFWs who heard about Project WiFi through Facebook and media features, there are also SMEs and corporations who support our cause by donating a portion of their profits to us.
How many people benefited from the project?
To date, we have released 4 batches of students totalling 509 beneficiaries and are located all over the Philippines. The overwhelming response we’ve received from students all over the country who have come across our social media pages is incredible, and we hope to be able to help and reach as much deserving students in need as we can.
If any, how many (in kind) or how much (monetary) were the contributions?
So far, we have received monetary contributions enough to cover 509 students, sourced from family, friends, and marketing campaigns that we have initiated throughout the course of the past couple of months. Some corporations have also approached us for a possible collaboration. Some of the marketing campaigns we initiated were online workout and yoga events hosted by professional trainers, an online art fundraiser to which we were a beneficiary for some of the artists, an online quiz event hosted by students, and a number of generous SMEs to which we were also a beneficiary of and a portion of their sales were pledged to us.
How did the project make a difference in the community?
A spark of hope, some may call it. But for us, it’s bigger than that. It’s about the revival and the advancement of the Bayanihan spirit amongst us amidst the pandemic to be able to help Filipino students across the country still continue their educational learning. This pandemic has opened our minds that being resilient should not start so late but as early as from the time we start our education as this allows it to be inculcated in our minds and our daily routines. As they say, “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” To be resilient, innovative, and caring as students ourselves who initiated Project Wifi for the benefit of students is not only a contribution to our own personal development but also to the community, and in turn, to the whole nation.