HepaHealth Founder Ryan Gersava was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship for his contributions to ensuring that the most excluded groups in society are given equal employment opportunities.
Ryan grew up as the youngest of eleven siblings in Sultan Kudarat, one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. His parents always emphasized the importance of education as their path to a better life, and Ryan was admitted by a local university to study pre-medicine through his academic and extra-curricular achievements. He discovered he was a hepatitis B carrier in college, which he kept secret due to the negative career implications. During his medical studies, Ryan’s eyes were opened to the negative stigma surrounding people with disabilities and disease, even among medical professionals. He experienced this himself when he failed to secure a job after graduation due to his diagnosis. In response, he realized the potential of the digital economy in providing opportunities to people who are traditionally excluded from accessing work due to discrimination. This led him to found Virtualahan, a virtual school where he trains and empowers traditionally marginalized communities to access employment opportunities in the digital economy.
Virtualahan is a tech social enterprise that equips People with Disabilities and other disadvantaged groups with the skills and mindset to become successful employees and entrepreneurs using an impact formula that combines life-coaching, community building, with digital skills training. It is breaking down employment barriers for people who are socially excluded in the workplace and working towards the Future of Work where no one is left behind.
About the Fellowship
Ashoka was founded in 1980 with the mission to support social entrepreneurship, which its Founder Bill Drayton believed to be the most powerful force for good in the world. Social entrepreneurs aim to develop system-changing solutions that lead to systemic change in existing patterns of activity. Ashoka aims to find and support the World’s leading social entrepreneurs by electing them to the Ashoka Fellowship after a rigorous vetting system. Over time, the Ashoka Fellowship grew to become the World’s first professional association for leading social entrepreneurs. It fosters partnerships between entrepreneurs and with partners in government, academia, business, and other institutions to promote collaborative entrepreneurship. Today, Ashoka operates in over 90 countries and has elected more than 3,500 Fellows all over the world.
Read more at: https://www.ashoka.org/en/fellow/ryan-gersava