July, 2013

  • Surface: The Perfect Device for Students

    Florida student Chris Lamb uses his Surface RT on campus to take notes in class, tutor friends, read textbooks, share files with a thumb drive and play around with apps. He used to use many devices throughout the day, but with Surface he only needs one.

  • Microsoft China Strengthens Support for Nonprofits in Nanjing

    There is growing interest across the social enterprise sector in China to learn more about the use of information technology (IT).

    To support this burgeoning development, Microsoft China collaborated with Non-Profit Incubator (NPI) in June to host the sixth staging of NPO IT Day in Nanjing, aimed at providing the local nonprofit community with a better understanding of how technology can help transform social innovation in China.

    Kaizhi Ni who established “Benefit the Public” Community Development Centre in Sichuan province, found Microsoft NPO IT Day to be highly beneficial in helping Chinese nonprofits address the needs of the communities they serve. The organisation recently developed an online platform to raise funds to sponsor the tourist activities of elderly rural residents, and will continue to work on expanding the platform to serve a broader community.

    The event attracted representatives from more than 50 nonprofit groups in Jiangsu province to get together to exchange ideas, as well as learn how to better utilise IT to enhance operational and management efficiency within their organisations. The event was also attended by a number of high-ranking government officials and senior leaders from the nonprofit sector.

    Daniel Suen, Vice President of Microsoft, Greater China Region, highlighted Microsoft’s commitment to broadening its technical expertise to support the local nonprofit community. “As a responsible corporate citizen and industry leader, Microsoft China is committed to providing the necessary IT tools to support the growth and development of social enterprises across the country. Events such as the NPO IT Day enable us to offer local nonprofits deeper insights into how they can enhance their IT capacity through Microsoft technologies.”

    During the event, delegates attended a comprehensive training session on the use of Office 365TM to synchronise its email system and internal communications across different locations. Microsoft also showcased the collaborative features of Office 365 to help nonprofit employees improve their work productivity.

    Government officials spoke highly of Microsoft’s efforts to support nonprofit activities in China. Yang Ming, Deputy Party Secretary of Yuhuatai District of Nanjing, said, "We appreciate Microsoft’s economic and social contributions to the development of Yuhuatai District in Nanjing. We aim to develop this district into a strong software development hub, and we are committed to working together with partners such as Microsoft to create a friendly environment for nonprofit groups.”

    Mr Ni concluded, “Nonprofits in China need to gain a greater awareness of how IT can be used to raise funds, and NPO IT Day is an ideal platform to exchange ideas for how nonprofits can more effectively meet community needs.”

  • Technology Capacity Building for Nonprofits in Vietnam

    In May, Microsoft Vietnam hosted more than 100 non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives, including those from a number of youth-focused social enterprises in the country, at its second NGO Connection Day held in Hanoi.

    “Cloud computing is changing the way NGOs work and communicate through technology networks. The second NGO Connection Day provided the participants with ample opportunities to learn from industry experts, share knowledge and discuss best practices – and the event would not have been possible if these organisations weren’t willing to share their knowledge and experience with others in the sector,” said Nguyen Thu Hue, Director of Vietnet ICT, one of the event participants.

    The event was aimed at providing NGOs with deeper insights into how emerging information technology (IT) trends are shaping the future of the nonprofit sector, as well as introducing the participants to a wide array of Microsoft offerings such as Office 365®, ExchangeTM, SharePoint®, Lync® and Windows® 8 to address their operational challenges. Key topics discussed during NGO Connection Day in Hanoi included cloud computing developments, the use of social media to improve community outreach, mobility trends and Big Data.

    Another highlight of NGO Connection Day was the official launch of the TechSoup Asia programme in Vietnam, which helps nonprofits in the country gain easier access to Microsoft products and other technology platforms to build their information technology (IT) capacity. At the event, the participating NGOs were provided with information about how to register.

    “The challenges faced by NGOs working in Vietnam are similar to those of others around the world. The TechSoup programme will provide NGOs in Vietnam with the necessary IT resources to support the effective use of technology to address social challenges,” said Mike Yeaton, Vice President, TechSoup Asia.  

    Vu Minh Tri, Country Manager of Microsoft Vietnam, said, “This NGO Connection Day event marked the official launch of TechSoup Asia in Vietnam, reinforcing our shared purpose of enabling improved access to relevant and affordable technology. Microsoft will further expand on our efforts to help NGOs and businesses alike acquire various technology resources and build technology capacity for the nonprofit sector in Vietnam.”

  • Microsoft YouthSpark - Fueling Inspiration in Asia

    Microsoft is committed to helping youth create and seize opportunities by providing the technology resources and expertise young people need.

    Microsoft YouthSpark: Dream it. Learn it. Live it.

     

    Learn more about YouthSpark and get involved.

  • Making a Real Difference in the Lives of People: Janakie Karunaratne

    This is part of a series highlighting the valuable work that Microsoft’s Community Affairs Managers are doing in Asia. This piece was contributed by Nikolay Premyanov and Jason Jun Sik Eum, two student interns who spent time with the Microsoft Area HQ Citizenship team in July 2013.

    Janakie Karunaratne has been at Microsoft Sri Lanka for more than seven years fulfilling her role as Community Affairs Manager with enthusiasm and dedication. Initially, Janakie worked in sales at a telco, but ever since she started managing Microsoft’s social initiatives she has never looked back, finding her role fulfilling and important. In her own words, “We are one people – all of us have a responsibility to care for and share information between each other, therefore a large firm like Microsoft, through its corporate citizenship programme, has the responsibility to pro-actively share its immense knowledge among the community in order to improve lives.”

    Janakie manages projects all over Sri Lanka, in cooperation with the government, other private sector companies, or Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) – and sometimes all three. One of her main initiatives is setting up workshops that teach information technology (IT) skills to young people, raising their employability and giving them opportunities to fulfill their ambitions, changing not only their own lives, but also their family’s lives as well.

    Sri Lanka has suffered through a long civil war that recently ended and there is much rebuilding to do; not only physical but also the mental rebuilding of young people. To help in this sphere, Microsoft Sri Lanka cooperates with HSBC to empower young adults who have been affected by the war to help them become the leaders of the future, as well as providing them with the means to rebuild their lives.

    The company is helping NGOs run their own social initiatives by providing them with up to date IT solutions and the means by which they can improve their services to people in need. This provides a huge benefit to NGOs and serves to show the importance of IT to any organization in modern times. One such initiative is the work done with Sri Lanka’s foreign employment bureau to teach important skills to workers leaving to other countries, which improves their employability and makes them more likely to send back money to Sri Lanka, further improving their family’s lives.

    According to Janakie, the most successful initiative has been GAMATA IT; Sinhalese for ‘IT for the village’. This is a programme that aims to bring technology to remote villages and teach the local populations how to use IT, giving them the power to improve their own lives. This programme is run in conjunction with the ministry of education, an NGO and 2 private sector firms. This is one of the largest initiatives supported by Microsoft Sri Lanka, touching the lives of many.

    It is this aspect that Janakie finds the most enjoyable and fulfilling in her job: touching the lives of many and making a real difference in communities. Even if she never meets the individuals personally, she knows that the work she and Microsoft are doing will improve opportunities across the country. The work provides the right amount of challenge coupled with the need for her to think of ideas and solutions that the company can implement to continue reaching members of the community. In her eyes, a perfect job.

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