Ayala Foundation continues to grow the reach of its scholarship program in partnership with U-Go, adding 300 scholars to the 120 current scholars, all of whom are promising young women.
Education start-up U-Go is an international non-profit with which Ayala Foundation has an existing program partnership and serves as its operating arm in the Philippines.
U-Go also operates in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam. The U-Go scholarship aims to help young women from economically disadvantaged backgrounds pursue higher education, seeking out students who not only excel in academics but also in community engagement and student leadership.
Ayala Foundation senior director for social development Joanna Duarte said the U-Go program has produced its first graduate, Ma. Dona Mae Oco, who graduated with honors this August.
Oco is one of the students from the pioneer batch of U-Go scholars and graduated cum laude from Philippine Normal University.
Since its launch in the Philippines in 2022, U-Go has been helping 120 scholars who go to 70 schools located in 30 provinces, from the northernmost province of Cagayan to the southernmost province of Davao del Sur. The addition of 300 scholars this year brings the total scholarship grants to 420.
“Helping young women empower themselves not only bridges the gender gap, but benefits communities and workplaces, more broadly. Ayala Foundation and U-Go are placing their faith in the capacity of young Filipino women to complete their education, do well in their careers, and break the transmission of poverty to the next generation,” said Ayala Foundation President Tony Lambino.
Ayala Foundation is gearing up for onboarding more scholars in the coming years to reach 1,000 scholars by 2026.
The next milestone is the integration of mentorship programs for the scholars. In the future, U-Go endeavors to also help the graduates on full-time employment or business, community engagements, and upskilling opportunities.
“The issue of education equality for women is as much about empowering women as it is about building the most capable economy possible for the Philippines, to ensure our collective progress as a nation. The opportunity to contribute to this possibility, through U-Go Philippines, is exciting,” U-Go Global board member and Bank of Philippine Islands senior vice president of consumer bank marketing and platforms Mariana Zobel de Ayala said.