SM Foundation, Mastercard help bridge gaps in online learning

Representatives of SM group and Mastercard, led by SMFI Executive Director Debbie Sy, SMFI Education Program’s Executive Director Linda Atayde and SAVP Eleanor Lansang, SM Store Vice President for Marketing Roshan Nandwani, SM Retail, Inc. CFO Jonathan Ng, and Simon Calasanz, Country Manager, Philippines, Mastercard at the ceremonial check turnover, following the success of the Shop & Give Back.

Amidst the varied challenges of the past three years, the world witnessed solidarity and the power of sharing a vision. People from diverse backgrounds joined forces to support students in adapting to online learning, fostering resilience and longlasting impact on youth. In October 2021, the SM Group and Mastercard teamed up through the SM Store Shop & Share campaign, enabling customers to gift e-tablets to 1,210 SM Foundation scholars, including Monica Zapanta and Robin Raton. These students faced challenges transitioning to online education, struggling with outdated devices, and limited resources.

Monica, a Computer Science student, needed a device for coding and classes, while Robin, an education student, required multiple applications for video conferencing and productivity. The new tablets, provided through this initiative, alleviated their financial burden and enhanced their learning experiences.

SM scholars Robin Raton (left) and Monica Zapanta (right)

Robin shared, “With the help of Mastercard and The SM Store, we allocated the money I saved for my family’s needs, such as food and daily expenses.” This tablet allowed him to complete vital tasks for his education and extend a helping hand to his brother for school research.

Monica found the tablet’s power efficiency to be a game-changer during internet or electricity outages, enabling her to stay focused on her studies. Beyond academics, the tablets facilitated balance in their student lives, offering a helping hand to others and serving various purposes.

“The e-tablet inspired me to strive. It lessened the financial burden and stress that comes along with pursuing higher education. It has enabled me to focus more on my studies rather than constantly worrying if I’ll finish the things I need to complete,” she said.

Robin uses his e-tablet from Mastercard to finish his school requirements.
Monica conveniently uses her e-tablet while commuting to school.

This collaborative effort, driven by the SM group’s commitment to education’s transformative power, aims to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through ongoing partnerships with like-minded organizations.

The SM group representatives with the e-tablets for SM scholars.