Microsoft supports digital literacy for elderly Cambodians

With the support of Microsoft, Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) has taught more than 1,500 students in Phnom Penh’s most impoverished community, invaluable skills in computer science through the YouthSpark program.

CCF and Microsoft’s collaboration began in January 2017 at the Neeson-Cripps Academy (NCA)—CCF’s new advanced STEM school. Since then, students have learned skills in digital literacy, computer science, robotics and media production that will prepare them for careers in highly sought-after technology fields in Cambodia.

Microsoft’s employees have been instrumental in CCF’s progress over the past year through their generous support and on-the-ground volunteer work with CCF students, teachers and staff. The most innovative program thus far, has been the Hour of Code—a 60-minute introduction to computer science, designed to demystify the complexities of code, showing that anyone can learn the basics. The tutorials, developed by Microsoft and Code.org, leverage characters and concepts from the Minecraft video game to teach computer coding concepts within the fun and familiar world of Minecraft.

This week, CCF students had the opportunity to pass along their learned computer skills to the elderly in CCF’s granny program during the second occurrence of the Hour of Code. During the hour, the students helped the grannies—most of whom had never seen a computer—learn the basics of computer coding with the help of the Microsoft team. The special bond that CCF students have with the elderly in their community is truly remarkable and in true CCF spirit, the grannies proved that you’re never too old to learn new things.

The CCF/Microsoft partnership will continue into 2018, with further provisions to the YouthSpark program which will include translation of the digital literacy curriculum into Khmer, so it can be distributed to other schools and organizations—within Phnom Penh and the surrounding provinces.

For more information about Cambodian Children’s Fund, visit www.cambodianchildrensfund.org

Lavonne Cloke 

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