THE FILIPINO COMPUTER CLUB – DUBAI
(1996 – 2016) …Last updated (July 2016)
By: Ernesto Ordoñez
Chairman: Committee on Membership & Discipline (2003 – 2014)
Updated by Cherry Pye Torres, FCC President (2006)
It all began with a simple vision. Ten years ago, a small group of optimists gathered together for a cause, they looked into the bright side of steering in to the arduous tides of community service.
But for Filipino professionals, engineer Jijie Zablan, and journalist Joe Lee, the vision is going to be carried out in a long term mission. They pooled up resources, skills, and talents while essential equipments were generated thru solicitations, donations and support from other community leaders and private companies.
Hand in hand along with support from other associates, they established a venue for computer literacy courses to reach out less-privileged Filipino workers in Dubai aiming in upgrading their skills – the Filipino Computer Club (FCC) was founded.
1996 – A Vision, a Mission
The year was 1996; when Dubai was young and just beginning to take its first few steps into the advanced world of computers and the internet. As to most of the migrant Filipino workers in Dubai, operating MS-DOS prompts and booting MS-Windows 95 was a whole new learning experience during that time.
FCC was officially launched with the first batch of Basic Computer course on June 13, 1996. Taking pride as one of the first venues to introduce computer lessons among the Filipino community in Dubai, the computer courses given for free.
In a small but comfortable Filipino Workers Resource Center at Al-Rigga, the club regularly holds sessions of its courses every Fridays through the recognition of then, Welfare Officer Mrs. Gladys Reyes.
Eng. Jijie and Mr. Joe Lee the original founders were assisted by Eng. Cherry Pye Zablan in conducting the computer courses. Soon after some members of PICPA volunteered their service in providing computer lessons for the students.
Word of the mouth spreads quickly as vivid interest in computer literacy sparks Filipinos in Dubai to register in the new club. The club has witnessed the growing number of students taking up the introductory courses such as two batches of DOS, MS-Windows, and MS-Word with Resume writing.
A fund raising event was even held at Sheraton Hotel and then graduation ceremonies of courses were first held for the first batch of graduates. Indeed, it was a history for the pioneer computer club.
Moreover, as a milestone to its humble beginnings, FCC’s foundation was solidified after the club was officially recognized under the auspices of the Philippine Embassy, OWWA / Labor Office in Dubai.
It aims to be a non-profit, non-political organization with the objectives of providing free computer education, training and facilities to our countrymen, of serving as a forum for computer users and professionals and of contributing its share in the development of the host country.
1997 – In Full Gear
On February 7, 1997, the club sailed in full gear. A new computer room was endorsed and officially inaugurated by Labour Attaché Atty. Luis Flores. It is also the first time when Filipino Computer Club inducted its first set of officers gaining more its credibility as a community club.
People came, and some senior leaders gone. Edmundo Ferrer was approached and brought in by Eng. Jijie Zablan for a position in the committee.
The Steering Committee was grooming Eng. Jijie to be its first president but she modestly declined preferring to support the training requirements and projects and to avoid conflict as younger sister Eng. Cherry Pye Zablan occupied the Vice Presidency. That made possible the selection of Edmundo Ferrer as the first FCC President.
They committed themselves to push Filipino Computer Club into higher gears steering towards a greater mileage.
The first PC Assembly Class was added in the courses offered which is an exclusive course for members only. After a successful Train the Trainer and Team Building, was a time of reckoning for it was this period that the Filipino Computer Club produced prominent figures amongst its students with its further batches of graduates.
In the span of almost two years, the club has achieved more than 600 students to have completed various computer courses that included Introduction to Computers, DOS, Windows, MS Word and other MS Office applications.
From housemaids to service staffs and from salesladies to factory workers, many Filipinos in Dubai and far-flung Northern Emirates have already learned the intricacies of computer through the Filipino Computer Club.
Course after course, activity after activity, accomplishments after accomplishments, the club was indeed sailing in full steam.
1998 – Bounds and Hurdles
Everything was well placed and sailing smoothly. Basic Computer and PC Assembly Class were continuously rendered. Seminars for Trainers and Newsletter Staff workshop were conducted respectively.
‘Livewire’ the official newsletter of FCC was officially launched. It was a significant highlight of the club’s image giving publicity to its mainstream of glory. Then the second term for Election of Officers was officiated.
However, in May 1998, FCC’s smooth sailing and steering force was disturbed by unexpected storms and sudden turn of events.
For a good cause, the first ever Raffle project was launched to generate the much needed funds to implement the Club’s aspirations, one of which is to install a server at the computer room.
The result was a big success as it turned out to scoop a 100 per cent turnover. The proceeds were overwhelmingly generated, however in an unfortunate occasion – the objective of buying a new server was never implemented due to lapses and misdeeds of a supposedly prime-mover.
The incident sent waves of controversy, scandals and malicious intentions that were spewed by radical members defying the respect and harmony that the club was reputed with.
Dignities were stained and names were tainted. For the committed members and leaders, it was a catastrophic period causing inactivity. The FCC foundation was shook to its very core by some selfish and irresponsible individuals affecting the club with a bleak future.
Amidst of all the pains and disappointments, FCC continued to be in the mainstream wherein the officers and students participated in several functions and activities of POLO-OWWA office.
The club’s deteriorating morale was spared after taking part at the Philippine Independence Centennial Celebration; it has helped lift the spirits of its constituents despite the moral challenge that is happening.
The response from the Filipino community was overwhelming and a re-enactment was even requested and held in Fujairah.
1999 – Lean and Transition
The crisis has hindered the growth of the club as dormancy and uncertainty engulfed the vigor that was once known for. Disorder, stagnancy and impersonal agendas polluted the system sparked by a vile faction of radical members.
Yet even in the midst of an internal crisis, though the mission and vision were blurred it was still carried out. Trainings for the less privileged went on and pushed thru as expected, the club has not abandoned its students.
The Club went thru its most distressing chapter which is merely caused by inconsiderate personas; the point of falling apart was looming but it was only endured by sacrifices and understanding for the majority who believed the truth.
2000 – The Rebirth
In the year 2000, the entry of a new millennium brought new faces, new direction and a new life for FCC. The club sprung back to life after it was weathered by storms. It’s the rebirth. Rising from the point were irresponsible individuals have failed them.
Committed souls remain with the efforts of new individuals who anchored to values and strong principles.
Membership then again flourished through the guidance of the set of loyal officers who stood by the club’s president Eng. Cherry Pye Z. Torres during the crisis. The shift has enabled the club to re-occupy its place in the mainstream of all community endeavors at FWRC premises.
Basic and advanced courses were more enhanced while introductory courses were added to the club’s set of curriculum.
On November 2000, Eng. Milo Torres in cooperation with the Club has introduced a new course called HTML Writing and Web Design being offered to the Filipino community who have the aspiration to go one-step further in their career or who are merely internet enthusiasts.
For what was once a simple mission with a promising responsibility of developing skills, it continues to relive the vision of community service – bigger and better during that time with its utmost commitment and consistency.