April, 2012

  • A Good Kind of Madness in Singapore

     Innovate4Good@Microsoft mindmap

    There is a palpable energy and enthusiasm at the Innovate4Good@Microsoft
    event today in Singapore. The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Clair
    Deevy, Citizenship Lead for Microsoft Asia Pacific. “The right tools and
    technology will unlock opportunities we don’t even know exist yet. Youth are
    changing the world and we are paying attention.” 

    From the start, participants were busy sharing their experiences. Facebook
    and Twitter were abuzz with status updates and tweets from the first day of the
    conference and kept the conversation going outside the conference hall. The
    #innovateforgood and #innovate4good hashtags saw continuous live tweets from
    participants as well as retweets from all over Asia Pacific. Five videos from
    the conference were posted on the Citizenship APAC Twitter feed and a video
    interview with Ponheary Ly received 145 hits within an hour of posting. By the
    end of the day, the 14 images and 5 videos that were posted by the team on
    Twitter registered more than 850 views.

    Bernie Jones, Director of IMPACT Corporate Training and summit
    facilitator, led the group in a series of dynamic and interactive team activities
    to get the participants to work together and think creatively. From getting a
    cork out of a bottle to designing a house together with very strict communication
    limitations, the group has learned to use positive interactions to help the
    creative thinking and problem-solving processes.

    Ponheary Ly, CNN Hero of the Year 2010 and Social Entrepreneur,
    inspired the group with her talk on how she is educating youth in rural Cambodia.
    As a teacher, and later a tour guide, Ponheary has a passion for education and believes
    deeply that school is the answer to opportunity. Educate one child at a time
    and you can change the world. “I want all students to be connected to the
    world, for schools to have computers and kids to learn computer skills so they
    can connect to the world to learn even more.”

    The participants have been challenged to learn something new, listen to
    novel ideas and be open to things they don’t understand. “If you ask questions,
    you will soon ‘see’ something you may have initially dismissed or not understood,”
    said Bernie.

    The youth are taking this idea to heart. When asked what they learned
    through the house building exercise, one participant said, “Recognize and accept
    other ideas when they are better than your own.” Laughter, teamwork, creativity
    and an enthusiastic “shiock” (Malay for extreme excitement, woohoo!). Clearly, everyone is having a great time.

    Tomorrow will bring even more enthusiasm and collaborative work to help
    solve key social challenges related to various issues that can be helped by
    technology, such as education, healthcare and employment.

    Some of the best messages of the day: Believe in yourself. Believe in the
    power of change.

  • Innovate4Good@Microsoft Arrives in Singapore

    This blog has been posted by Clair Deevy, Citizenship Lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific

    There are 1.2 billion young people on our planet today, with projections of 1.5 billion young people by 2035. Many of them are doing amazing things. They are innovating, they are inspiring and they are driving real impact.

    As the Microsoft Citizenship Lead I have seen firsthand just how amazing young people can be. We can learn a lot from their work, their energy and their passion. Microsoft can provide the access to the technology, but we want to hear from them directly on the best way we can support what they care about – that is how Innovate4Good@Microsoft was born. The first of six Innovate4Good events held around the world was in Seattle, and the second was held earlier this month in Cairo. We are delighted to be hosting the APAC event in Singapore on April 28 and 29. After Singapore, hundreds more youth will participate in similar conversations in Brussels, Beijing and Mexico City.

     Innovate4Good@Microsoft participants working hard on a special project.


    This event is a platform for youth to speak and meet with Asian visionaries and thought leaders. More than 100 great young minds from around the region will participate in an open dialogue, discussing technology’s role in bridging the growing opportunity divide, an increasing gap between those who have access, not only to technology, but to a good education and the skills and connections needed to be successful – and those who do not. 

    Working with Microsoft’s technology these young leaders and their communities will be empowered to build successful futures and bring positive change to their homes. From fun collaborative debates on a range of issues, to listening to inspirational youth peers and finding ways to realize personal future goals, we will be providing the participants hands-on time with Microsoft’s latest technology.

    This is the start of an online global community and I hope participants will find a place where young people around the world can come together, collaborate, inspire and support each other.

    For Microsoft, investing in using technology to make the world a better place is part of who we are. Innovate4Good@Microsoft is just one of the ways Microsoft is sparking conversations to identify how technology and other investments can help bridge the opportunity divide for youth around the world. We have a lot to learn from young people – I am thrilled to be part of the excitement!

    Join the conversation at our online Twitter community at Innovate4Good@Microsoft.

    Dream it. Learn it. Live it.

  • Microsoft Kinect® Makes the Difference in Patient Rehabilitation

    There is a new movement thundering through hospitals in South Korea. It all began when Microsoft Korea, in collaboration with the Korean Institute of the Disabled for Independent Living, held the “Kinect® Contest for People with Severe Disabilities” to provide people with disabilities, most of whom are wheelchair-bound, with the opportunity to use the Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor to enjoy sports games they had never thought to be able to play.

    Since then, this initiative has begun to make inroads into hospitals as well. On 22 and 23 December 2011 the Korea Citizenship team, in partnership with social workers from two of the biggest hospitals in South Korea, organized a Kinect-themed event, which was open to patients within the rehabilitation wards in these two hospitals. Approximately 60 patients participated and had the opportunity to experience Kinect-themed games. This initiative is significant, as it dispels the notion that technological accessibility cannot play a part in a patient’s rehabilitation process. 

    According to the social workers that were present, the inception of technology during the rehabilitation process of patients actually motivated them to overcome their diseases, as it gave them an opportunity not to dwell on their current situation, which in turn offered them hope for the future.

    On a global scale, Kinect has been used in hospitals as a therapeutic tool to aid medical rehabilitation. In Korea, there will be ongoing efforts to organize similar Kinect-themed events and there are hopes of expanding this initiative to nationally recognized events such as the National Disabled Day in April.

    “Physical therapists have reported that they are currently using Kinect as a therapeutic tool in hospitals, and Kinect has been an invaluable tool for the patients in rehabilitation,” said Ms Hoon Hee Park, Rehabilitation Ward Social Worker, Shinchon Severance Hospital.

    Korean Citizenship team and social workers helping out at the hospital
    The Korean Citizenship team and social workers helping out at the hospital.

    A young patient trying her hand out at the Kinect game with the help of a social worker
    A young patient trying her hand out at the Kinect game with the help of a social worker.

    “Physical therapists have reported that they are currently using Kinect as a therapeutic tool in hospitals, and Kinect has been an invaluable tool for the patients in rehabilitation.”
    -  Ms Hoon Hee Park, Rehabilitation Ward Social Worker, Shinchon Severance Hospital
  • Office 2010 Helps NGO Give Children a Better Future

    Donated software
    Donated software such as Office 2010® saves time for
    professional workers in Taiwanese Nonprofits.

    Microsoft has made it easier for nonprofit organizations (NPOs) to get access to affordable technology. The Microsoft Software Donation program, which has already provided more than US$3.9 billion worth of software to nonprofits around the world since 1998, is being expanded to enable more nonprofit organizations to request software donations when they need them at any point in the year. Microsoft Taiwan, together with TechSoup Taiwan, has donated more than US$4 million worth of software to local nonprofit organizations for the past three years.

    The Chinese Children Home and Shelter Association (CCSA) is one such beneficiary. CCSA was established in October 2002 by Ms. Alice Jin-Fang Hung to address concerns about children’s rights and to oversee the development of children’s homes nationwide. They serve the poor and the orphaned, children from struggling single-parent families, those who have suffered from sexual and other forms of abuse, and children who are under judicatory surveillance. CCSA, like many other NPOs in Taiwan, devote themselves to underserved communities in Taiwan, with more focus on teenagers. The professional workers need to juggle counseling, intervening and public fundraising duties.

    Some of the challenges they face include the lack of new software that would streamline and reduce time wastage, when it comes to filing, note taking and emailing information. With the Software Donation Program, CCSA was able to upgrade their software to Office 2010®. The result was being able to leverage the Office 2010® experience from more locations and more devices, deliver large volumes of e-mail with ease, store and track all notes in one place, and the ability to access work across devices and platforms.

    "We really enjoy using Office 2010®, mostly OneNote®. It has helped us to be more efficient in our note taking and our generation of reports. We are also now able to keep track of all our emails and corresponding with our partners is easier as compared to before,” said Loh, Director of Plan Department, CCSA.

    “Every day we see how technology is helping nonprofits operate more effectively and ultimately do their best work,” said Rebecca Masisak, co-CEO of TechSoup Global. “The updates to the Microsoft Software Donation Program provide nonprofits increased flexibility in requesting software, which we believe will greatly benefit many nonprofits in the TechSoup Global community that rely on a range of Microsoft products to run their organizations effectively.”

    “We really enjoy using Office 2010®, mostly OneNote. It has helped us to be more efficient in our note taking and our generation of reports. We are also now able to keep track of all our emails and corresponding with our partners is easier as compared to before.”
    Loh, Director of Plan Department, CCSA.
  • Microsoft Empowers the Next Generation of Women with ICT Tools for the Future

    The future is starting to look bright for young members of the underprivileged community in Malaysia, thanks to initiatives such as the Microsoft Unlimited Potential Program.

    When Kogila was 17, she was sent to the Vocational Training Opportunities Centre (VTOC) managed by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). It was there that she came to know about Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Program.

    This opportunity opened up a whole new world for Kogila who had never even touched a computer prior to this. She completed the Computer Secretarial and Accounting course, which helped her secure a job in Olympia College, that then gave her the opportunity to further her studies there. “My life has totally changed for the better and now I know I can achieve better things in life,” said Kogila.

    YWCA’s Vocational Training Opportunity Centre (VTOC) was established to curb poverty and support young girls to find better opportunities. In 2006, the center received a grant from Microsoft through its Unlimited Potential Program to equip women and girls from marginalized backgrounds with ICT skills, helping bridge the digital divide in Malaysia.

    This collaboration is aimed at helping to close the digital divide by creating new products and programs that will help bring social and economic opportunity to an estimated five billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology.

    Sanggeri, from Perak, underwent a transformation when an acquaintance urged her to do a course at VTOC. It was there that she realized there were many interesting training opportunities available to her. She took up a Finance course under the Foundation Program, which equipped her with the skills to manage money. As a result of her successful completion of this course, Sanggeri will be starting work in a management company next year and her hopes for the future have significantly brightened.

    When an intervention prevented Amanda from going down a path of self-destruction, she was sent to the YWCA where she took up a course in Culinary and Bakery. During her one year training program she gained much knowledge from the foundation courses, equipping her with basic computer skills. “I am a whole new person now and life is worth living. I thank god for giving me a second chance and am grateful for the opportunities given to me by the YWCA and Microsoft,” said Amanda.

    Together with Microsoft and the YWCA’s VTOC initiative, many lives have been transformed with the practical and long reaching applications of ICT.

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