Samsung Digital Divide Grants
2 August 2004 at 1:08 pm
Multinational electronics company Samsung, through its DigitAll Hope project, plans to contribute $1.4 million this year to organisations from South East Asia and Australia that help to bridge the digital divide.
The Samsung DigitAll Hope focuses on enriching lives with technology in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In Singapore, focus will be given to supporting programs that assist people living with disabilities, and to help them lead richer lives through existing and new development technologies.
Sang-Jin Park, chief executive officer and president of Samsung Asia says the company has a deep-rooted belief that technology is an increasingly important tool of progress.
He says it has the power to enhance and transform the lives of everyone including and perhaps even more so for the disabled.
According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), some 400 million people with disabilities live in the Asia-Pacific region. The majority of them are excluded from many opportunities to engage in or contribute to society, a gap that technology can offer assistance.
Last year, Samsung DigitAll Hope provided total funding of $825,000 to 15 organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. Projects that received funds in Australia were run by The Smith Family and the Fitzroy Computer Clubhouse.
The Fitzroy Computer Clubhouse (FCC) is the first of its kind in Australia located at the Fitzroy Learning Network in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy.
While the Fitzroy Learning Network is a multi-cultural neighbourhood house offering classes in conjunction with social support for older people, refugees, temporary protection visa holders and asylum seekers, the FCC caters especially to children and youths from various migrant, refugee and low socio-economic backgrounds.
The Samsung funded project was to expand their existing small Clubhouse to allow for a more effective learning environment which incorporates specialist work areas. These included multimedia areas, a music studio, Lego robotics construction and testing area, a meeting area, a claymation station and storage areas to create a more “Clubhouse” environment.
Through the new Clubhouse experience, FCC gives children the opportunity to develop information, communication and technology skills along with vital vocational skills.
The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program established in 1998 currently provides support to 21,000 school, TAFE and University students of low socio-economic backgrounds around Australia through educational scholarships, educational and personal support, and support from volunteer mentors.
Samsung funded its “The Ignite! For Youth” program to provide disadvantaged youths aged 16 to 25 with online resources, personal support, and information to assist with the development of their technology and life skills. It supports access to financial scholarships and provides online tutoring, linkage to personal mentors, monitored chat rooms, email, course-specific educational resources, and up-to-date relevant information, including portal-like access to other youth services.
In time, Learning for Life hopes to provide support for 70,000 school, vocational and university students in Australia – and equip as many youths as possible with technological skills so that they can contribute and be involved in the Australian community.
Other funded projects included the Sao Mai Computer Centre for blind youth in Vietnam and the Farmers’ Organisation of Kerpan project in Malaysia. A Thai recipient was an e-learning and children’s health project that uses IT to enhance teaching methods about disease prevention at secondary schools.
Samsung has invited key individuals to form independent judging committees on a national and regional basis to evaluate this year’s submissions.
David Lim, a member of the Singapore selection panel and a DigitAll Hope ambassador says it is encouraging that Samsung has made bridging the technology divide amongst the disabled the focus of this year’s grant program as technology offers many possibilities that can help one live life without limits.
David is best known for leading the first Singapore Mt Everest Expedition in 1998 where two members of his team successfully reached the top. In March 2001, as a partially disabled person, he returned to Mt Everest, leading an international group of climbers.
Charities, non-government organisations, voluntary welfare organisations and educational institutions are invited to apply for monetary or product grants to help support on-going projects or the foundation of new projects surrounding improving lives through the use of technology, thus bridging the digital divide.
Submissions will be evaluated first on a national level by a panel of local judges with relevant expertise.
Each country’s short listed entries will go on to a final round of judging by a regional committee, who will base their selection on a pre-established set of criterion. These criteria include the expected impact on the quality of lives, sustainability to provide long-term benefits, feasibility and responsiveness to meeting target groups’ identified needs as well as creativity and innovation in the use of technology to develop better lives.
The closing date for submissions is August 20, 2004. Winning recipients of Samsung DigitAll Hope 2004 will be announced in October this year.
For more information, visit www.samsung.com/sg/hope.
Potential applicants are invited to submit applications to: firstname.lastname@example.org