By Aude Breteau, Marketing and Communications Manager, Microsoft Singapore

It is satisfying and heart-warming to be able to directly benefit those who are less fortunate. I would have to say this is how many of us at Microsoft Singapore feel each year when we participate in the annual  President’s Challenge, as we reflect on the ways we can help those who are more vulnerable or less privileged.


A team explains the inspiration behind their mascot design to President Tony Tan Keng Yam 

This year, our fundraising event, The President’s Challenge Ultimate Telematch, was held on 25 October at Nanyang Polytechnic. The ‘competition’ had Microsoft colleagues, their families and over 30 beneficiaries from beneficiary organisations forming five teams of 12 to 16 members to complete four challenges.

We have been working with Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) and RSVP, The Organisation of Senior Volunteers for years as part of the President’s Challenge, so it was a hoot to compete against each other! All of us were a little thrown off by the last challenge that asked us to design a mascot for the President’s Challenge on the spot, but there is nothing a little creativity, some watermelon, balloons and ice-cream sticks cannot solve….

We are really pleased to have been able to raise over SGD330,500 this year, and that the work we love—technology—can help reduce and eliminate barriers for people with disabilities. Since 2006, Microsoft has contributed a total of SGD1.9 million in cash and software to SPD, and over SGD730,000 to RSVP, with the funds going towards providing technology training for more than 1,900 people with disabilities and 15,476 seniors. More than 250 people with disabilities have undergone vocational training and 37 of them have found employment so far. Over 116 seniors subsequently found jobs in IT-related fields.

 
Managing Director of Microsoft Singapore Jessica Tan (left) and Area Vice President of Asia Pacific Cesar Cernuda (right) present the cheque to President Tony Tan Keng Yam 

This reminds me of what an optimistic young man named Tan Jian Hao (SPD beneficiary and first-year Engineering Informatics student at Nanyang Polytechnic) told my colleague Jocelyn at the event: “Life is like a marathon. Do not give up.”