IT grants for United Voice and Prihatin


Those with learning disabilities can now converse more eloquently with a picture-to-speech communicator PDA. 

The gadget is one of the technology-breaking projects funded by Samsung Digital Hope 2006. 

From left: Min, Normala, Tan, Ng, and United Voice’s Yeong Moh Foong andCynthia Joann Thomas and Chelliah holding a mock cheque at the presentationceremony.

Other projects include installing satellite dishes and receivers to enable the poorest provinces access to educational television, setting up a one-stop community technology to alleviate unemployment among youths and upgrading an IT lab for juveniles. 

The Samsung Digital Hope grant programme, which is into its fourth year, recently awarded US$620,000 to 16 organisations from South-East Asia and Australia. 

Two of the beneficiaries are from Malaysia. 

They are Pertubuhan Prihatin Sosial Malaysia’s E-Community Technology Centre for Unemployed Youths, a recipient of the grant for the second consecutive year, and United Voice, which provides social, communication and leadership skills, and forums on issues related to people with learning disabilities. 

Pertubuhan Prihatin Sosial Malaysia (Prihatin) was awarded RM255,000 while United Voice received RM34,000. 

PPSM representative Mahalingam Chelliah and Cynthia Joann Thomas from United Voice received the cheques on behalf of their organisations from Samsung Malaysia Electronics (SME) Sdn Bhd’s ceo and managing director Min Yong Ho. 

“Samsung is proud to crystallise Prihatin’s and United Voice’s goals, which are in sync with the Samsung Digital Hope programme of giving back to the communities and raising the awareness of social needs,” said Min at the award presentation ceremony recently. 

Also present at the event were those involved in the selection of applicants for the grant.  

Min (left) congratulating Chelliah (centre) and Thomas on their organisations’selection to receive funds under the Samsung Digital Hope 2006 programme.

They include Star Publications’ group editorial and education adviser Datuk Ng Poh Tip, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s (Utar) dean of Faculty of Information and Communication Technology Dr Tan Chik Heok, Association of the ICT Industry Malaysia (Pikom) chairman Lee Boon Kok and representatives from the Rural and Regional Development Ministry.  

The awarded organisations are evaluated by an independent judging committee of authorities in the spectrum of community, youth and infocomm technology (ICT) development.  

This year’s judges include Malaysia’s Deputy Rural and Regional Develop-ment Minister Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman, Singapore’s Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who is also Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister, Thailand’s Ministry of Science and Technology’s permanent secretary Dr Pairash Thajchayapong, Indonesia’s Research and Technology’s state minister Dr Kusmayanto Kadiman and Vietnam’s Youth Union’s general secretary Dao Ngoc Dung. 

The national judges for Samsung Digital Hope are Ng and Lee, who assisted in the evaluation and short- listing of the local applications.  

Prihatin will use the funds for its E-Community Technology Centre for Unemployed Youths programme, targeted to empower 350 unemployed youths in economically disadvantaged areas. 

Its efforts include helping them acquire E-Life skills, E-Entrepreneurial knowledge and E-Access to Occupational Information to increase their job opportunities. 

“With the grant from Samsung Digital Hope, we hope to offer a one-stop community technology centre to alleviate youth unemployment via technological means,” said Chelliah. 

Meanwhile, Thomas said United Voice would use the Samsung Digital Hope fund to set up a basic computer lab to facilitate IT classes such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Web Design Skills and surfing the internet for those with learning disabilities. 

“It will give them the chance to earn an income by making greeting cards and wedding invitation cards under our Employment Project,” she added.