Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- Microsoft announced today a total of over ten million dollars has been donated this year by Microsoft to community projects in the Arab region as part of the Unlimited Potential initiative (UP). Under this program, Microsoft works closely with local community and humanitarian organizations to provide essential IT skills and support to the underprivileged, to help them realize their full potential.
“Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program objective is to help millions of people worldwide realize their full potential through access to technology and technology skills training,” said Charbel Fakhoury, General Manager of Microsoft Gulf. “In honoring this objective, Microsoft Gulf has established collaborations with community groups, government departments and non-government organizations in many of the countries through out the Arab region, to offer IT skills development for the under-served people of the region.”
Microsoft’s UP program focuses on improving lifelong learning for disadvantaged young people and adults around the world by providing technology skills, learning solutions and cash grants through Community-Based Technology and Learning Centers (CTLCs).
In the Arab region, CTLCs have already been established in Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Among the projects that Microsoft has committed to in the Arab region are:
• Dubai Juvenile, UAE. Microsoft partnered with Dubai e-Government to assist in providing IT skills development in the efforts of Juvenile rehabitation through training core group of trainers on the basics of IT using the Microsoft UP curriculum. 240 young people in Dubai Police care will benefit from this program each year.
• Tanmia, UAE. First CTLC launched this August in Dubai to train UAE national job seekers in IT skills, with lessons in English and Arabic
• Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, UAE. In September, Microsoft donated software and a grant to help the hearing-impaired children learn about technology.
• Alnoor Center for disabled children, UAE. Software has been donated through the UP initiative to aid children at the center.
• Welfare Association in Fujairah, UAE. Software donation from UP funding to help provide facilities in Fujairah.
• Oman Women”s Association, Oman. This initiative targets women on social welfare programs, to train them in the basics of IT to help them enter the work market.
• Career Connections, Bahrain. Microsoft”s UP grant will fully underwrite IT skills training and train-the-trainer programs.
• SME Development, Egypt. In collaboration with RITSEC, the Integrated Care Society and key NGO, UP is funding training and skills development for approximately 500 young people from five governorates to prepare them for the workforce and create new job opportunities.
• MCIT Clubs, Egypt. This initiative is providing state-of-the-art technology as well as education and training for 200 trainers in 100 clubs across the country; with a plan to train more than 10,000 youth and community members per year.
• Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union, Lebanon. Technology and job skills training is being provided to more than 250 people with disabilities, and awareness education to more than 1,500 members of the broader community.
• KAFA, Lebanon. UP is supporting the distribution of CD-ROM materials on Lebanon”s family law and, in some cases, of computers and printers, to more than thirty social centers in rural areas of Lebanon.
• Ajialcom, Morocco. To address the challenge of unemployment and assist in building a knowledge society; ten CTLCs have been established in collaboration with UNDP, ICTDAR, and the Ministry of Youth, to empower young people to play a role in the country”s economy. This year, fifty new CTLCs are planned to provide technology access and skills training for more Moroccan youth across the country.
• Info Youth Center, Tunisia. Microsoft, UNESCO, and the government of Tunisia are collaborating to establish a regional CTLC designed to empower young people through access to technology and skills training, and to create an information hub for youth across North Africa. This center will provide training for IT trainers in 80 youth centers across Tunisia, and will benefit 50,000 young people throughout the country each year.
“As part of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to the Arab region, we are working with local community organizations to improve the lives of the underprivileged and create an investment in the future of the people of this region,” said Amna Al-Nakhi, Academic Programs & Community Affairs Manager Microsoft Gulf. “Since the launch of the Unlimited Potential program, many achievements have been made in the Arab region, and we are very pleased that we are able to contribute to the process of narrowing the technology skills gap among young people, women and underprivileged adults, to help them enter the work force and be better prepared for today’s competitive and high tech economic opportunities.”