Bridging the digital divide

  • Education
  • Sunday, 19 Dec 2004

SAMSUNG Electronics Malaysia Sdn. Bhd (Samsung) recently announced the recipients of the Samsung DigitAll Hope 2004 grants.  

The winners were St Nicholas Home for the Visually Impaired which won US$50,000 (RM190,000) for itsSamsung Eyes project, the Lions Club of CyberCare Kuala Lumpur which took home US$32,000 (RM121,600) for its CyberCare eCommunity for Underprivileged Children's Homes, and the Socio-economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI) which won US$31,000 (RM120,000) for its Samsung DigitAll READ (Road to Equity and Advancement) project.  

Present at the awards ceremony was the Malaysian representative on the grant's regional judging committee Datuk Wong Siew Hai. 

“I am excited about the quality of the projects which had themes focusing on the need to help youth bridge the digital divide,” said Wong.  

“It was quite a challenge to select the finalists as the entries were all compelling.  

“I see the potential in each project to enhance the lives of individuals, and indirectly, to benefit the families and communities,” he added.  

A total of more than 300 entries were submitted. From this, 31 projects from seven countries were shortlisted by the respective national judging panels for review by the regional judging panel, which comprised acknowledged authorities in community, youth and ICT development. 

Samsung later increased the total funds available by US$100,000 (RM380,000) due to the exceptional quality and calibre of the projects submitted. In total, Samsung DigitAll Hope has awarded US$1.15mil (RM4.37mil) in grants over the past two years.  

The Samsung Eyes project aims to establish a fully equipped state-of-the-art ICT centre for secondary and university students aged between 16 and 25. The objective is to increase awareness of the benefits of ICT applications in education, recreation and employment.  

An integral part of the project includes purchasing and setting up Braille software to cater to the needs of the blind and the visually impaired.  

The CyberCare eCommunity for Underprivileged Children's Homes aims to connect youth in orphanages by providing homes with technological infrastructure, and organising workshops and cyber camps to equip youth with ICT skills so as to encourage them to set up an e-community.  

The Samsung DigitAll READ for Disadvantaged Youths project, based in high-density housing areas on Penang Island, hopes to enhance the services of student welfare councils (SWCs) by setting up digitalised library systems and providing Internet connections so that student volunteers may hone ICT skills and become better managers.  

Samsung’s managing director Won Jong-Duk said: “As Asia speeds along the ICT highway, there is a danger that some communities in Malaysia may get left behind. The technology projects will certainly help to build bridges and connect the unconnected.”  

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