Microsoft Announces Support For Technology Skills Training Centers in 56 Countries

REDMOND, Wash., July 12, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is one of 104 nonprofit organizations to receive support as part of the companys third round of Unlimited Potential (UP) grants. UNHCR intends to establish three community technology learning centers (CTLCs) in its Dadaab Camp in Kenya, where more than 130,000 refugees have been living for more than 12 years. These centers will provide basic computing courses that can help camp residents pursue continuing education and contribute more fully to their communities and home countries.

Earlier this year, Microsoft, UNHCR and the Red Cross collaborated to open the first CTLC for refugees in St. Petersburg, Russia. The CTLC serves the needs of displaced individuals from Afghanistan and Africa, as well as of local people with disabilities.

“CTLCs provide us a modern, practical solution for meeting the needs of refugees and offering them new educational opportunities,”
said Pierre Bernard Le Bas, head of private sector and public affairs service of UNHCR.
“Refugees have limited access to schools and other educational resources. For many of them, CTLCs offer them another avenue to gain the skills and knowledge they need to make their way in life.”

In the 12 months since Unlimited Potentials inception in 2003, the company has awarded more than $80 million to CTLCs in 78 countries. The current grant round provides more than $30 million (U.S.) in cash and software for organizations in 56 countries.

The current round of Unlimited Potential grants provides resources for community-based training programs in every region of the world, as demonstrated by the following examples:

  • In the United States, Microsoft will work with Community Preservation Development Corp. (CPDC). CPDC has been establishing community technology learning centers in and around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area since 1989, partnering in these communities to offer office technology and skills training to residents earning low to moderate incomes to help them improve their job prospects and income. CPDC currently operates 15 community development programs in 21 housing complexes in the Washington, D.C., area.

  • In China, Microsoft will work with the Beijing Xicheng District Library, Beijing Xicheng District Youth League and Beijing Youth League to establish the first community technology learning center in Beijing. The CTLC will provide migrant workers, disadvantaged groups and the general public with access to information technology and basic computer training; it is projected to reach more than 13,000 learners in the first year alone. Microsoft is also working with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and PlaNet Finance China to establish CTLCs in rural Chinese communities. These CTLCs will be linked to pre-existing microfinance institutions, enabling the centers to offer technology training as well as financial information to help reduce poverty and encourage entrepreneurship.

  • In Peru, Microsoft will provide support for La Fundacion para el Desarrollo Solidario (FUNDADES). FUNDADES will use its Unlimited Potential grant to implement a technology training program to help teen parents with no economic resources or computing skills find jobs to support their families. Unlimited Potential is a global initiative focused on providing technology training through CTLCs to improve computer literacy and skills for underserved individuals. UP grants will be used by CTLCs to help fund the hiring and training of technology instructors, expand course offerings and reach a broader base of underserved community members.

About Microsoft Unlimited Potential

The UP curriculum emphasizes real-world technology applications and will initially be available in English, French, German and Spanish language versions. In the near future, Microsoft will work with partners to launch a global support network to deliver technology research, tools and services to training centers worldwide. To date Microsoft has distributed nearly $80 million in cash and software through Unlimited Potential to 78 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America. A complete list of Unlimited Potential grant recipients can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/citizenship/overview/uprecipients.asp .

Microsoft began its philanthropic activities in 1983 and put forth one of the first philanthropic efforts in the high-tech industry. Microsoft Unlimited Potential is a global program that focuses on improving lifelong learning for underserved young people and adults by providing technology skills through community-based technology and learning centers. Microsoft believes that by providing the necessary training and tools, it will help create social and economic opportunities that can transform communities and enable people to realize their potential. More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/unlimitedpotential/ .

About Microsoft

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