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.
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.
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.
As part of the Maternal Health Service on Mobile (MHSM) project implemented by Datamation Foundation Trust in India, Microsoft India partnered with OneWorld South Asia (OWSA) to develop an SMS toolkit that would allow pregnant and lactating women to send and receive SMSs from a computer or laptop cost-effectively. The localized SMSs are in Hindi and contain information related to maternal and child health.
Due to several factors such as the lack of awareness about mother and child care practices, India has one of the world’s worst infant and maternal mortality rates. This has led to the initiative to deliver health information through mobile technology, which is available to most of the Indian communities.
The project commenced in two districts of Northern Indian state Uttar Pradesh and has benefitted more than 1000 pregnant and lactating women. Through an extensive community mobilization drive, women were registered for the MHSM service manually on the Content Management System (CMS), along with details such as the month of pregnancy or pregnancy complications. Thereafter, they would receive at least two customized messages every week, which provides them with medical advice and reminders on pre-natal care or post-natal care.
“The SMSs gave me useful tips such as the various vaccinations I need during the course of my pregnancy. I took all the advice seriously and managed to deliver a very healthy baby,” said Bilja, a 23 year-old beneficiary.
The health information provided by the service allowed the families of the targeted women to be in a better position to take care of the beneficiaries. An added benefit was that the health workers and officials who were part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scheme were able to provide relevant, timely and customized health information, allowing them to monitor the beneficiaries more effectively.
“Prior to using this service, I felt very weak during my pregnancy. After my husband encouraged me to monitor the diet chart sent via the SMS alerts, I started to eat iron-rich food. Now, I feel more energetic and healthy,” said Mamta Devi, 29 years.
Following this pilot experience in India, the best practices from the project may be used to develop other projects in areas and countries, where high maternal mortality rates prevail.
“The SMSs gave me lots of useful tips such as the various vaccinations I need during the course of my pregnancy. I took all the advice seriously and managed to deliver a very healthy baby.”
- Bilja, Beneficiary
- Bilja, Beneficiary
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.
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.
“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
There is a palpable energy and enthusiasm at the Innovate4Good@Microsoftevent today in Singapore. The event kicked off with a warm welcome from ClairDeevy, Citizenship Lead for Microsoft Asia Pacific. “The right tools andtechnology will unlock opportunities we don’t even know exist yet. Youth arechanging the world and we are paying attention.”
From the start, participants were busy sharing their experiences. Facebookand Twitter were abuzz with status updates and tweets from the first day of theconference and kept the conversation going outside the conference hall. The#innovateforgood and #innovate4good hashtags saw continuous live tweets fromparticipants as well as retweets from all over Asia Pacific. Five videos fromthe conference were posted on the Citizenship APAC Twitter feed and a videointerview with Ponheary Ly received 145 hits within an hour of posting. By theend of the day, the 14 images and 5 videos that were posted by the team onTwitter registered more than 850 views.
Bernie Jones, Director of IMPACT Corporate Training and summitfacilitator, led the group in a series of dynamic and interactive team activitiesto get the participants to work together and think creatively. From getting acork out of a bottle to designing a house together with very strict communicationlimitations, the group has learned to use positive interactions to help thecreative 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 believesdeeply that school is the answer to opportunity. Educate one child at a timeand you can change the world. “I want all students to be connected to theworld, for schools to have computers and kids to learn computer skills so theycan connect to the world to learn even more.”
The participants have been challenged to learn something new, listen tonovel 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 learnedthrough the house building exercise, one participant said, “Recognize and acceptother ideas when they are better than your own.” Laughter, teamwork, creativityand 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 helpsolve key social challenges related to various issues that can be helped bytechnology, such as education, healthcare and employment.
Some of the best messages of the day: Believe in yourself. Believe in thepower of change.
Our mission is to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.
Explore the positive impact of local programs promoted and supported by Microsoft around the world.
News, perspectives and analysis on legal and policy issues.
© 2012 Microsoft
| Privacy Statement | Connect With Us