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I am just back from Hong Kong where I attended one of our NGO Connection Days. The connection days are held around the world and provide nonprofits with the opportunity to come together, network and find out about how they can use technology to support their organizations. The event in Hong Kong was a great success with around 180 participants who learned about a range of topics from cloud computing to social media. I also met with some of our local nonprofit partners.
In Hong Kong we work with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service to help us improve how nonprofits access technology through our software donation programs and also to provide training and access to technology to underserved communities helping them to improve their economic prospects. In Hong Kong though, as in the case of many of our markets in Asia, there is an ageing population so often for the elderly while paid employment may not be on the cards contributing to the economy through volunteering is of huge importance to the Government.
Enter the delightful Benedict. Benedict was born in mainland China and studied earlier in his life in Macau. Benedict spent more than 30 years as a taxi driver in Hong Kong and after retiring was unsure what to do next but wanted to feel like he was still contributing. Benedict undertook one of our Unlimited Potential training courses through our partner Hans Anderson and was hooked! But the training was not enough, Benedict wanted to help Hans Anderson and Microsoft bring this world of technology to even more people, so now he is one of the star trainers at the Hans Anderson Centre at Chukyuen, a public housing estate in a much underserved community.
Benedict is volunteering his services to allow more and more seniors to learn how technology can keep them contributing to the success of Hong Kong.
At the other end of the age scale I met Ken. Ken is working for Hans Anderson providing training and courses. Ken and some of his colleagues see an opportunity to bring together technology and an environmental message together in a way that is fun and appeals to youth. They have come up with this nifty little speaker that is made from recycled plastic bulbs from vending machines. In their experience the students love making them and are so bust having fun they almost forget they are learning about technology and recycling! They may also have a burgeoning business in a few years as well!