Filipino Institute is committed to providing uniquely designed professional programmes and to make a difference to the lives of Filipino expatriates in the UAE and elsewhere in the Middle East. Established on November 19, 2015, the training facility is the brainchild of Gabriel John Rimando, 34, a Filipino accountant who has lived and worked in Dubai since 2007. Rimando, who is an avid photographer, felt the need to help empower Filipinos by providing access to high quality yet affordable education. Since opening its first training facility at the Al Quoz district of Dubai in 2015, the institute now has branches in Al Rigga, BurJuman, Business Village and Jumeirah Lakes Towers in the emirate, as well as in Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi. It offers short courses in photography, accounting, human resources and office administration, caregiving, IT skills training, guitar and Arabic language classes, among others. Students can choose from basic, intermediate and advanced courses designed to update their skills and knowledge, help them advance their career, or give them a competitive edge in the job market. In a span of two years, Filipino Institute has produced 23,000 graduates in the UAE and some countries within the GCC. The institute stepped up its presence in Qatar by opening a campus at West Bay in November 2016 and at Al Waab a month later. And on the same month, it branched out to Bahrain and in Kuwait, marking another milestone in its Middle East journey. Rimando has now set his sights on Oman and Saudi Arabia as well as in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei before 2020. The expansion is no mean feat but definitely doable, he says.