SINGAPORE, November 1, 2014 – Microsoft Singapore today rallied over 150 Microsoft employees, as well as partners, influencers, and beneficiaries SPD (formerly the Society for the Physically Disabled) and RSVP (The Organisation of Senior Volunteers) to volunteer their time and technology expertise at the We Tech Care Open House – held in support of President’s Challenge 2014.
Attended by President Tony Tan Keng Yam and over 600 members of the public, We Tech Care goes beyond fundraising and seeks to amplify the benefits that come from enabling and empowering the community through technology by making the event a public one this year.
Held from 9.30am to 5.30pm at the Microsoft Singapore office located at One Marina Boulevard, the We Tech Care Open House featured a variety of IT-related workshops and activities catering to all members of the public including children, teenagers, parents, professionals, women, seniors and people with disabilities.
The day’s programme included:
- IT Workshops by Microsoft and RSVP Volunteer Trainers, for people of all ages to learn basic IT skills;
- Surf Smart and Stay Safe Sessions by Microsoft, for teenagers, parents and professionals to learn how to better protect themselves online;
- Smart Games Sessions by Microsoft, for people of all ages to check out the latest gaming and coding technology, including Xbox games competitions and fun game coding sessions;
- Connected Women Workshops by Gina Romero, Founder and Managing Director of The Athena Network Singapore, to learn useful tips on social media and personal branding, how to build an effective online presence and managing their public and private profiles;
- PC Clinic by Microsoft, for members of the public to receive complimentary consultation on PC issues; and
- Assistive Technology Exhibit by SPD, for people with disabilities, caregivers and members of the public interested in learning about how technology can make a difference and enable people with disabilities to lead more fulfilling lives.
As part of the programme, President Tan met with Microsoft employee and beneficiary volunteers as they engaged the public through IT workshops, interactive games and other fun-filled activities at this meaningful event. President Tan also accepted a contribution cheque of S$532,000 on behalf of President’s Challenge 2014 from Microsoft Singapore’s Managing Director, Ms Jessica Tan. A cheque for S$20,000 cash donation was also presented to RSVP.
”Microsoft has been an active participant of the annual President’s Challenge for past 14 years. Through the President’s Challenge, we achieve the dual purpose of supporting charitable causes which are aligned with the goals of The President, while supporting our longer term goal to empower people with disabilities and seniors with the skills and knowledge they need. By contributing what Microsoft knows and does best – technology, and through our work with SPD and RSVP, we are heartened to see that over 2,000 people with disabilities and 16,000 seniors have been equipped with practical IT skills, with over 120 seniors finding job opportunities in IT-related fields,” said Ms Jessica Tan.
“Encouraged by the positive impact that we have been making through various community efforts, Microsoft’s employees, partners and beneficiaries came together to organise an event that we have opened to the public – We Tech Care. This year’s event is targeted at seeding practical IT skills which can be developed and harnessed for the good of the community at large. We hope to see technology play a major role in empowering people to make a real impact for a better Singapore,” added Ms Tan.
Over the years, Microsoft Singapore has tirelessly rallied support from its extensive partner ecosystem and communities in support of President’s Challenge. Since 2006, the total value of cash and software raised by Microsoft, employees and partners for the President’s Challenge and RSVP is estimated at over S$3.4 million. The funds raised will go towards supporting the following initiatives:
- Infocomm Centers at SPD and RSVP – At SPD, the Infocomm Accessibility Centre (IAC) was set up to provide accessible IT training to bridge the digital divide for people with disabilities, including those with physical, sensory, intellectual and development disabilities. The Silver Infocomm Junction at RSVP Singapore provides IT training to seniors with the aim of nurturing a community of digitally-active and workforce-ready seniors, and to help them bridge the inter-generational divide.
- Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship – The scholarship is designed to nurture and develop students with disabilities who demonstrate excellent academic credentials, strong leadership potential and a passion for creativity, higher learning and innovation to pursue higher education in the field of IT.
“Technology and education are two great social levellers for people with disabilities. We are very encouraged by the continual support from Microsoft Singapore in bringing technology and higher learning to the community of people with disabilities through the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship and IT training,” said Mr Abhimanyau Pal, Executive Director, SPD.
“The benefits of ICT in the daily lives of seniors are enormous. By conducting affordable IT workshops for seniors, RSVP Singapore has been equipping seniors with basic IT skills ranging from internet browsing and digital photography to Microsoft Office applications. We are grateful that Microsoft Singapore has been our long-term partner in serving the seniors community with their employees going beyond fundraising to actively participating in our community outreach programmes by volunteering their time and technology skills. We look forward to continuing this partnership with Microsoft Singapore and to changing the lives of more seniors through the use of technology,” said Mr Koh Juay Meng, President, RSVP Singapore.
We Tech Care was made possible through the generosity and support of Microsoft and community volunteers, as well as Gold Sponsors – Accenture and KPP Packaging; Silver Sponsor – Fusionex and Datapulse Technologies; and generous corporate sponsors Access Direct, Amnet, Chassasia, Dimension Data, IN.FOM, Inoarts, Moduslink and Swap. In-kind corporate contribution was also provided by Embrya and Wunderman.
For more information about We Tech Care, visit www.microsoft.com/singapore/WeTechCare.
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SPD, formerly the Society for the Physically Disabled, is a voluntary welfare organisation that promotes the interest, welfare and advancement of people with disabilities to develop their potential to the fullest. Through programmes and services that encompass rehabilitation, vocational skills and IT training, assessment and consultation in assistive technology, early intervention, day care, and employment, educational and social support, SPD seeks to enable them to be self-reliant and independent. For more information, please visit www.spd.org.sg
About Infocomm Accessibility Centre (IAC)
IAC is managed by SPD, formerly the Society for the Physically Disabled, and the centre was formed through a People-Public-Private initiative between Microsoft, the Infocomm Development Authority, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, National Council of Social Service and the Tote Board. It is the only centre in Singapore that provides IT training across disability types, offering persons with disabilities an opportunity to achieve industry-recognised certification in preparation for job placements in the open employment market. For more information about courses and enrolment at IAC, please visit www.iacentre.org.sg.
About Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship
Launched in 2009, the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship was incorporated to nurture and develop promising local youths with disabilities to achieve their full potential. Each year, the Scholarship selects four recipients, providing them with annual funding for IT-related diplomas or degree courses offered by local polytechnics and universities. The Scholarship is part of the global initiative Microsoft YouthSpark, which aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries during the next three years. This companywide initiative includes Citizenship and other company programs — both new and enhanced — that empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Find out more at http://www.microsoft.com/youthspark.
About RSVP Singapore
The Organisation of Senior Volunteers is a non-profit organisation and an Institution of Public Character as defined under the Charity Act. The Organisation was started in 1998 and launched by the then Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong. Its mission is to provide opportunities for seniors to serve the community with their talent and experience through purpose-driven volunteerism. Its major programmes are Enriching Lives of Seniors, Mentoring, Mentally Disadvantaged Outreach, Ageing-in-Place, Cyberguide, Changi Service Ambassadors and Senior Guiding.