15 September 2010

Superteen Doing Her Thing

Zoe Sandejas
Few Filipino teens are trying do what they can for the country and the latest addition to this select crop of laudable Pinoys is seventeen-year-old Zoe Sandejas. She has accomplished more than most people double her age. Between acting in film projects, the teenager is a student, singer, photographer, graphic artist, and Taekwondo blackbelter. It's a wonder how she has managed to do so much in so little time!

Zoe is the lead actress in the 2009 film "Dinig Sana Kita" which won Cinemalaya's Audience Award and the National Council for Children’s Choice Award. Her moving performance as a troubled teenager propelled the film into the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival and Brussels International Independent Film Festival.

The award-winning piece about the Filipino Deaf community was filmed partially in Batino Elementary School, an institution that specializes in educating deaf children. Zoe enjoyed filming there but she also noticed that some aspects of the school could be improved.

"Batino Elementary School is able to help a lot of children with special needs and with enough support, it has the potential to reach more kids," she said. "While shooting, I realized that the students there depend on their visual skills for communication. Naturally, it was the first thing that came to mind when Microsoft approached me for the Pay It Forward project."

In conjunction with the launch of Windows 7, Microsoft embarked on a campaign called Pay It Forward featuring seven Filipinos who excel in their chosen fields to concretize and demonstrate how technology empowers people. Each icon chose a beneficiary who will receive a Windows 7-powered laptop.

The Quezon City school had no computers until then and Zoe believed that with the right technology, the school will also be able to empower more students.

"We were more than happy to supply Batino Elementary School with their first computer. We hope that this laptop can help initiate the school administration, and eventually the student body, to the use of information technology so that they can experience how IT can transform how people live and work," said Mae Moreno, Windows client product manager, Microsoft Philippines.

"Outstanding young people like Zoe raise the bar for others. We're honored to have her as one of our Windows 7 icons and hope that her accomplishments inspire other Filipino youth to use technology as a tool to reach their ambitions too," Moreno added.