Girls' Brigade learns tech skills to improve community service

Members learn cloud computing and coding in workshops by Amazon Web Services

Girls' Brigade Singapore (GBS) members, in addition to singing and dancing, are now teaching the needy how to use a voice-enabled device programmed by them.

GBS partnered Amazon Web Services (AWS) to conduct eight-hour, instructor-led workshops on cloud computing and coding skills, among other things, for members as part of their curriculum.

Yesterday, the girls demonstrated their new skills at the Girls Brigade Friendship Day 2018, which was attended by President Halimah Yacob.

Equipping members with the new skills is part of a GBS initiative, D-Serve, to enable them to better serve the community.

Brigade commissioner Evangeline Chong said: "We are pleased to be partnering the various digital and education institutions to align GBS with the national movement of being a smart nation by leveraging on technology to improve our service, being digitally ready for the future of the work and equipping our girls with new and relevant skills."

In the workshops, the members learn to program commands into Amazon's voice-activated virtual assistant Alexa.

Joyce Tan, 13, a Secondary 2 student at Fajar Secondary School and a GBS member who underwent the training, said: "It is very important to learn about technology as it makes life easier for a lot of people.

"We programmed Alexa to switch the lights on and off. (Those in need) can use just their voice to switch off the lights instead of walking to the switch."

GBS also partnered Temasek Polytechnic, Girls in Tech Singapore and the Infocomm Media Development Authority to teach its members some technological skills.

Mr Vincent Quah, AWS regional head of education for Asia pacific and Japan, said: "By empowering the younger generation with cloud-computing skills, we build a future-ready workforce that is critical for Singapore's economic growth as the nation strives towards an innovation-driven economy."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 15, 2018, with the headline Girls' Brigade learns tech skills to improve community service. Subscribe