Thailand to benefit from the donation of $1 billion in Microsoft cloud services to nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says

 |   Pornravee Suramool

This initiative reaffirms the company’s cloud computing commitment for public good

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (middle) discusses the use of Public Cloud For Public Good in a discussion with Mechai Viravaidya, Chairman of the Population and Community Development Association, and moderator Nattha Komolvadhin, during the Technology for Good event, which was attended by representatives of 50 leading NGOs in Thailand.

Bangkok, 25 May 2016 – Thailand will be one of the countries that will benefit from the donation of $1 billion in Microsoft cloud services to nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the Technology for Good event in Bangkok today.

Speaking at the event, attended by representatives from Thailand’s 50 leading NGOs, Nadella reiterated the company’s commitment to serving the public. This $1 billion donation aims to provide support to over 70,000 nonprofits worldwide and was launched under the umbrella of Microsoft Philanthropies, a new organization within Microsoft that is dedicated to social contributions through technology.

As part of a panel discussion with an audience of nonprofit organization representatives nationwide, Nadella said, “At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Delivering on this mission starts with great technology, but great technology alone is not enough. Too many of its benefits have yet to reach the people who need them most. To fulfill our company’s mission, we ourselves need to do more – empowerment begins with inclusion.”

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Waratorn Kliangradha, IT specialist for the Foundation for the Welfare of the Crippled Under the Royal Patronage of Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother, was among the NGO representatives in attendance at the Technology for Good event as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed that Thailand will be one of the countries benefiting from the company’s $1 billion donation in cloud services.

Throughout its 22 year presence in Thailand, Microsoft has continuously worked hard to be a long-term partner with the country. The company has collaborated with nonprofits and businesses from around the world to help identify how cloud technology can break down barriers to digital inclusion.

In Thailand, Microsoft has donated over $2 million in the form of free software, provided training to 430 NGOs, helping communities across the country to fulfill unmet needs while equipping nonprofits with the right tools to empower them to achieve more for their beneficiaries.

One Thai nonprofit working with Microsoft to improve society is the Population and Community Development Association (PDA). Founded in 1974 by development activist Mechai Viravaidya. PDA also operates the Mechai Pattana School in Buriram province. Known affectionately as the Bamboo School since its foundation in 2009. The school serves as a lifelong learning center for the entire community and a hub for economic and social advancement beyond the normal academic curriculum.

Mechai notes that for more than 10 years, PDA and Microsoft have been engaged in a formal partnership to support Thai education and promote lifelong learning in rural areas. “Our collaboration with Microsoft has given us access to cloud-based technologies such as Office 365, Skype, and Sway that help us get more done for our organization and deepen our training and education for our students.”

“At the Bamboo School, we do not train youth to merely search the internet, but we also want to teach them how to use technology to enhance community empowerment in agriculture, health and, of course, education. Through Microsoft technology, we empower our students to be leaders of their communities and drive social change,” he said.

One such example is the training by Microsoft employee volunteers for farmers to develop online advertising materials for their dried banana products, including creating their own email and social media accounts to market their products to a broader customer base. Sales increased by 10% as a result of these marketing efforts.

“While there was no question around the impact of technology on people’s lives, there was a lot that remained to be done to bridge challenges in bridging technological gaps and skills development for teachers, especially for the network of 1,000 schools in remote areas that PDA is trying to reach out to. I believe that the commitment shown by Satya Nadella and Microsoft today represents another step towards closing this gap in Thailand.”

Satya Nadella with Bamboo School students
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, greets students from the Mechai Pattana School or the Bamboo School in Buriram, a school under the supervsion of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), one of many Thai non-profit organizations working with Microsoft to improve society through technology.

For his part, Microsoft Thailand’s General Manager Orapong Thien-Ngern said that Microsoft believes that the idea of ‘public cloud for public good’ can only become reality with support from four key elements: infrastructure, skills development, trust, and leadership. “We have been making significant investments in all four areas in order to develop technologies that go beyond mere convenience to empower, protect, and inspire people who use them. Together, we can harness the power of the cloud to build a better future for people in Thailand and around the world.”