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.