"Cyberguide tutor" wins volunteer award for giving IT tips to seniors

When Madam Cheow Chin Wang realised that she needed her husband or son to be around before she could log on to Skype to get in touch with her daughter who was studying abroad, she decided it was time for her to learn how to use a computer.

So in 2007, she signed up for computer lessons with RSVP Singapore - The Organisation of Senior Volunteers, a non-profit organisation of senior volunteers here. The retiree paid a nominal fee of less than $50 for a three-day computer module that taught her how to use computer software such as Microsoft Office.

A year later, she was well-versed enough in computer literacy skills to start volunteering at the organisation as a Cyberguide tutor, giving back the skills she learnt to other retirees. "At RSVP, there is a cosier atmosphere as tutor volunteers are usually more patient than trainers at commercial schools in training elderly students," said the 63-year-old.

For her volunteerism efforts and her positive attitude towards life-long learning, Madam Cheow was awarded the Volunteer of the Year 2013 award at an annual awards ceremony at the Orchid Country Club on Thursday night. Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and Chairman of the Active Ageing and Employability sub-committee, was guest of honour.

Madam Cheow, who ran a small business before she retired, also joined RSVP's outreach programme, where she visited patients at the Institute of Mental Health at least once a week, among other activities.

Asked about the award, Madam Cheow said: "I was surprised and happy when I was told that I won the award, I feel appreciated. When I first retired, I lost some of my self-worth, so to be recognised through volunteerism and with this award, I feel a sense of accomplishment."