$4.8 million earmarked to support community projects that boost digital readiness

Ms Ng May Chan, who participated in the Digital Enablement Programme, receiving her certificate of completion from President Halimah Yacob on Nov 16, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The Digital for Life Fund (DfL) will set aside $4.8 million to support 21 new ground-up community projects to bring the benefits of digital technology to 100,000 people.

President Halimah Yacob announced this on Tuesday (Nov 16) when she and Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo visited disability charity SPD, which runs one of the ground-up initiatives funded by DfL.

The fund was set up by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in February with $2.5 million seed funding from the President's Challenge, to support digital inclusion, literacy and wellness initiatives.

The DfL has raised $7.6 million to date from corporate and community contributions.

Madam Halimah and Mrs Teo observed training sessions conducted by SPD under its Digital Enablement Programme (DEP), which is supported by Microsoft and SG Enable.

The President also presented certificates to four participants of the DEP for completing their tier 2A classes.

The 35-hour DEP began in October and entails fortnightly classes at SPD Ability Centre. It aims to train 140 persons with disabilities by March 2023.

In tier one classes, participants learn mobile functions such as the TraceTogether app and WhatsApp, making medical appointments and setting alarms.

In subsequent tiers, they are taught to use government digital services such as Singpass, Microsoft tools, and cyber-security practices.

Participants who are deemed job-ready will also be trained in admin support skills, such as file management, when they reach tier four.

A trainer is assigned to a class of no more than five people "to maximise engagement with each participant", said Mr Abdul Rahim Kassim, a training and employment executive at SPD who also teaches DEP classes.

President Halimah Yacob with Karen Tey Hui Wen, who is a participant in the Digital Enablement Programme. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Ms Ng May Chan, 64, who received her 2A certificate on Tuesday, said she has learnt how to buy daily necessities online, saving her the trouble of having to take a bus or train to the supermarket.

Ms Ng, who has cerebral palsy and lives alone, said: "It's difficult for me when I buy groceries because I have to hang the plastic bags on the handles of my wheelchair."

Madam Halimah emphasised the importance of enabling people with disabilities and mobility challenges to access services and opportunities from their home.

She said: "The DEP is very good because it helps people with disabilities... to have access to government services online, to be more independent, to be able to look for training and job opportunities."

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