Realizing that many secondary students and other underserved people do not have the luxury of access to information technology, Microsoft, in cooperation with Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB), opened a Community Technology Center called Rumah Belajar Microsoft (Microsoft House for Learning) in Seasons City, Jakarta, earlier in 2011. Microsoft Indonesia provides computer-based educational materials with various Microsoft programs that enable the Center to deliver affordable and accessible learning to underprivileged students of all ages.
Samsul Arif, a 24 year-old high school graduate, had always wanted to learn how to utilize a computer and obtain basic office skills. While selling bread on his bicycle one day, he came across Rumah Belajar Microsoft and decided to enroll. “Here the opportunities are laid open for me. My desire to learn is fulfilled, especially with the flexibility it gives me,” he said. Not owning a computer himself, he was grateful for the chance he obtained at Rumah Belajar to learn and enhance his skills.
For 20 year-old Yani, being a housemaid is not a career choice she hopes to settle for. After learning that a junior high diploma was not attractive enough in the current job market, she decided to obtain the necessary skills to have a chance for an administrative job in the future. With her newly acquired computer skills, Yani is now finishing her high school diploma.
Rumah Belajar Microsoft offers three courses per year, attracting up to 250 students each term. Students can obtain certificates issued by Bina Nusantara University, which has been working in cooperation with Microsoft since 2004. Graduates of these courses are also provided access to jobs in a bi-yearly job exposition held in cooperation with Jobstreet.com and other partners.
To date, Microsoft Indonesia has supported more than 120 Community Technology Centers across the country and trained over 2.7 million people under its Community Technology Skills Programs.
The ability to move forward has given hope to those who believe that they can move forward and achieve once unattainable goals.
“The young generation needs to think forward. I don’t want to be left behind, I want to move forward.” - Samsul Arif, high school graduate
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The Microsoft Academy for College Hires (MACH) is a program that recruits leading graduates with promising potential. Through this program, Microsoft helps to stretch the potential of the participants by providing them with guidance through peer mentoring and training sessions. Taruna Tarachandani one of the MACH participants from Indonesia, has benefited from MACH greatly. Taruna is a marketing student from Binus International and was assigned to create a challenging integrated campaign to highlight how Microsoft technology can enrich a student’s future career.
“With the guidance of my mentors, the project’s success went beyond our expectations.” Ms Tarachandani said. Her two mentors − Manish Chopra from Microsoft Indonesia and Chris Levanes from Microsoft Regional Headquarters guided her throughout the project. Before the campaign, Taruna conducted field research to determine the expectations students had and the job requirements in the market.
Microsoft Indonesia partnered with Jobstreet Indonesia and Binus Career Development Centre to conduct a survey. They found that 68 percent of all the jobs advertised in Indonesia expect job applicants to be savvy in Microsoft technology. Thereafter, a writing competition was held and marketed via social media. The theme of the competition was, “Fly to your dream job with Microsoft Technology” and participants were required to express their opinions on enterprise should consider hiring graduates without work experience. Students from 14 universities throughout Indonesia submitted their articles, which were posted in the October 2011 issue of Jobstreet Indonesia’s newsletter.
The campaign ended successfully with a seminar conducted by speakers, which included the manager of Jobstreet Indonesia, a career specialist from Binus Career and two representatives from Microsoft Indonesia. The success of the campaign has led Microsoft Singapore and Philippines to carry out a similar plan.
“This invaluable experience has allowed me to learn skills beyond the classroom and this opportunity has made me step out of my comfort zone,” said Ms Tarachandani.
With majority of the jobs in Indonesia requiring knowledge of Microsoft technology, the MACH campaign has helped Indonesian students understand the importance of Microsoft technology.
Taruna Tarachandani (wearing black) learned how to maximize her skills and knowledge to obtain her career goal on career coaching session at Microsoft office
“This invaluable experience has allowed me to learn skills beyond the classroom and this opportunity has made me step out of my comfort zone.” - Taruna Tarachandani, Student, Binus International
For more information, please visit http://careers.microsoft.com/careers/en/id/students.aspx
Microsoft Taiwan teamed up with a leading Taiwanese non-profit organization, Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF), to conduct a survey among children to discover the threat of potential Internet risks. Results of the survey were unveiled on 12 July 2011 during a press conference that was attended by journalists, representatives from non-governmental organizations, a government officer and a psychologist.
The results found that out of the 1,474 Taiwanese fifth and sixth graders surveyed, one out of ten showed symptoms of Internet addiction disorder, while approximately half of them played games that are deemed unsuitable for their age group.
The survey also raised concerns that children may be increasingly addicted to the Internet, be exposed to mature content such as pornography or fall prey to Internet scams. Many parents exhibit a lack of understanding of these potential dangers, or the tools required to safeguard children’s safety.
In response to this problem, Microsoft Taiwan offered free downloads of the Windows Live™ Family Safety program. This program helps parents manage the amount of time their child spends on the Internet and the content to which the child is exposed.
“With Windows Live™ Family Safety, parents can better guide their children on managing online activities,” said Wang Xiufen, a Senior Vice President of Public Affairs from Microsoft Taiwan.
Following the press event, Microsoft Taiwan distributed 10,000 free software manuals to CWLF, Taiwan Internet Content Rating Promotion Foundation (TICRF), End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism Taiwan (ECPAT) and 100 Windows 7 retailers. These manuals contain information on the usage of the Windows Live Family Safety program.
In addition, Microsoft Taiwan organized a “Family Safety Service” program on 16 and 17 July to teach parents how to install and use the program. The two-day event was held in the Northern, Central and Southern parts of Taiwan.
Wang Yumin from CWLF commented, “The use of software tools gives parents not only the knowledge on how to protect their children online, but they can also feel more secure about monitoring their Internet activity.”
“With Windows Live™ Family Safety, parents can better guide their children on managing online activities.” - Wang Xiufen, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Microsoft Taiwan
Microsoft is on a mission to fulfill people's potential by providing Information Technology (IT) skills and knowledge. Working with local government offices and partners, Women Up, an initiative of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program, provides women with an invaluable opportunity to equip themselves with the necessary IT skills and knowledge to boost life-long learning and employment opportunities. Since the program’s inception in Taiwan six years ago, more than 60,000 women have been trained with the help of local government agencies.
To further promote this initiative, Microsoft Taiwan has recruited 600 of the project's recipients to serve as volunteers. They will be instrumental in imparting computer skills to even more women. Women Up has begun to bear fruit in many local communities, especially in the Hua-Xing Borough, where residents are used to attending organized activities such as yoga and tai-chi lessons. Since September 2011, all women in Hua-Xing have had the option to attend a 24-hour computer module, offered by Microsoft Taiwan and Council for Economic Planning and Development.
“With the Women Up program, I’ve learnt a lot about IT and it has made me more familiar with the Internet. It has even taught me how to use Facebook. I am now connected to the world,” said Wong, a female resident of Hua-Xing Borough.
As the project draws more attention to address the digital divide amongst genders, the Council has agreed to pledge more funds to Microsoft Taiwan’s project to train an additional 9,000 volunteers to boost and introduce Women Up to other communities.
Microsoft is one of the leading companies in Taiwan that has been instrumental in funding IT education for college students, women and indigenous residents for many years. Microsoft hopes to collaborate with more resources to expand the impact of these grants, and is recruiting more volunteers to help those who are trying to bridge this digital gap.
“With the Women Up program, I’ve learnt a lot about IT and it has made me more familiar with the internet. It has even taught me how to use Facebook. I am now connected to the world.”- Wong, a female resident of Hua-Xing Borough
By Eleanor Pinugu, co-founder of Mano Amiga Academy, Inc.
Editor’s note: We’re delighted to share an independent perspective of the Innovate4Good@Microsoft event that took place in Singapore 28-29 April. It comes from Eleanor "Lynn" Pinugu who is one of the young leaders who attended the event.
Lynn (fifth from the left) with fellow delegates from the Philippines and Clair Deevy (far right), Microsoft's Asia Citizenship Manager, on the first day of the Innovate4Good Summit in Singapore.
My initial reaction when I received the invitation to the Microsoft Innovate4Good conference was one of disbelief. I’m not someone who falls under the tech-savvy category and felt anxious about what I would contribute to the discussions. As what another participant pointed out, I didn’t even know what basic terms like cloud computing meant, much less how they worked.
As head of Mano Amiga Academy, a non-profit school for underprivileged children, I try not to pass on opportunities that would help generate awareness about the school. I knew I had much to learn when it comes to maximizing what technology could offer, especially when it comes to giving our cause a global reach. Since the event brief for Innovate4good promised that it’ll expose me to the “transformative power of technology”, I threw my apprehensions about ‘not being techie enough’ out the window, packed my bags and headed for Singapore.
In the conference, I found myself surrounded by bright young minds from diverse backgrounds: student leaders, software developers, game designers, NGO workers, entrepreneurs; each one brimming with ideas and ablaze with passion to help shape a better world. After words of welcome from the Microsoft team, they informed us that we had a day and a half to come up with a project. The proposed idea should 1) incorporate technology in solving a pressing problem, 2) feature a sustainable business model and 3) be ready for presentation to an esteemed set of judges by the end of the conference.
The facilitators encouraged us to “keep asking questions” because this would enable us to explore the same situations with a renewed perspective. Any other doubts we had about whether or not our assigned task was feasible simply became irrelevant when two guest speakers shared how they put up their own NGOs despite their economically disadvantaged backgrounds. One of the founders was a genocide survivor, while the other was an 11 year-old boy who used to scavenge for trash.
The conference showcased the latest Microsoft technologies, not only to show us what the available platforms are, but also to demonstrate just how liberating technology could be in crystallizing ideas we would have never thought possible. I lost count of how many times I had to stifle a gasp of amazement during my hands-on trial of Microsoft Surface as I saw images and simulations simultaneously being brought to life by 50 different inputs. I couldn’t stop wishing I had my students with me so that they too could have the exhilarating experience of creating something tactile at the touch of a finger.
Microsoft said it is in the business of enabling potential. I personally believe Innovate4Good is a testament to this. In spite of time constraints and some language barriers (something common, given that Asia Pacific is a melting pot of cultures), the combined skills and expertise of the participants led to the birth of simple yet innovative ideas that address real-life challenges. More than anything, the event served as a good reminder of the magic of collaboration. Young individuals are capable of amazing things, but by working together, particularly with people whose strengths and experience differ from us, we would be able to accomplish greater things.
Imagination paired with technology leads to endless possibilities. It was so inspiring to see young people take available technology, build upon it and choose to use it for social change. With technology as our paintbrush and the world is our canvas, there is nothing stopping us from painting a brighter future.
As for me, a.k.a. the ‘least techie participant’? Well, my team’s project won second place for an idea I had been assigned to present. I’ve also made a firm resolution that Mano Amiga Academy would be more aggressive in integrating technology in our education programs and in seeking out which products and services could drastically enhance the learning experience of our students.
Oh and I no longer have to Bing ‘Cloud Computing’ to be able to tell you what it means…Admittedly, I have a long way to go, but am making encouraging first steps toward embracing technology and the world of opportunities that it offers.
More information about Innovate4Good:
Eleanor "Lynn" Pinugu is the co-founder of Mano Amiga Academy, Inc., a non-profit school based in the Philippines that seeks to provide quality education to children from impoverished communities. The World Economic Forum recently named her as a Global Shaper for her work in development and was one of the 70 Shapers chosen to participate in the 2012 WEF Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Her participation in Innovate4good@Microsoft has inspired her to work on her current relationship with technology—from being ‘one-sided’ and ‘transaction-based’ to a more fluid and mutually beneficial friendship.
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