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Underserved communities in Malaysia receive boost from Microsoft

AvantiKumar | Aug. 5, 2010
Microsoft awards more than US$500,000 in grants to NGOs.
KUALA LUMPUR, AUGUST 5, 2010 Three Malaysian nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) have received more than US$500,000 in cash and software support from software giant Microsoft Malaysia. These awards will benefit more than 20,000 people in the country, said one company executive.

"The support, which is worth more than US$536, 000 [RM1.7 million] in grants and software, has been made to three NGOs: the Young Women's Christian Association, YWCA; Yayasan Salam Malaysia, YSM; and, Mercy Malaysia," said Microsoft Malaysia Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, Jasmine Begum.

Begum said that these grants would help the three organisations deliver technology skills through a network of more than 29 technology learning community centres.

According to Begum, Microsoft's Unlimited Potential (UP) initiative would provide access and training to those who need it most. We hope to empower more people with technology to help create more jobs in the country, she said.

"For instance, YSM says it will help to boost the computer training it offers to underserved women and youth to help them seek out better employment opportunities while Mercy Malaysia is using some of this support to enhance its disaster relief preparedness," Begum said. The Microsoft Unlimited Potential initiative is intended to make technology more relevant, affordable and accessible to people around the world and to help advance social and economic development,

The combination of technology and education is a proven and powerful way to stimulate workforce development and create social and economic opportunity, she added While technology is creating pathways to success, far too many people are detoured because large gaps exist between them and technology resources and training.
 'Computers are no longer a luxury but a necessity'

YSM Chief Operation Officer Md Ghani Ibrahim said that the UP grant would help the agency to encourage entrepreneurship as well as improve job prospects. "The grant will go a long way in funding our activities to train these underserved women. It gives us a deep sense of fulfillment knowing that youths would be able to venture into targetted IT businesses to help develop the communities in which they live. This gives a second chance to those who come to YSM."

"This grant will help to develop young women, regardless of race, religion or background, by providing them with skills training to improve their employability, said YWCA President, Dr Marina David. YWCA has a proven track record for assisting their vocational training graduates in finding jobs, with a job placement target of 60 to 80 per cent."

Our UP Plus curriculum has been driven by the UP grant, which includes a foundation course of five subjects, comprising soft and business skills, said Dr David. In addition, computers are no longer a necessity but a luxury.

In our relief efforts, being swift and efficient is very crucial, said Mercy Malaysia Honorary Treasurer, Ir. Amran Mahzan. Therefore, the software grant that Microsoft is awarding Mercy Malaysia would increase efficiency through the use of ICT. Mercy Malaysia lauds Microsoft Malaysia's initiatives and we urge more corporations to come forth to support NGOs in their causes.