Media Release for The Tweet Meet 2011
18 Jul 2011
The Infocomm Accessibility Centre launches Tweet Meet 2011 to help more people with disabilities join the social networking world
18 July 2011, Singapore – The Infocomm Accessibility Centre (IAC) announced today the launch of this year’s Tweet Meet, a civic movement aimed at encouraging members of the public to help narrow the digital divide for people with disabilities (PWDs). For the sophomore edition, this civic movement will see more than 10 volunteers who will visit the homes of 40 PWDs to personally deliver, set-up and connect them onto social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Windows Live and Skype so that the recipients can plug into social media and widen their social circle.
This year’s Tweet Meet will be held completely online, where members of the Singapore public are encouraged to join this civic movement via Twitter at #Nothing_Less and on Facebook at Infocomm Accessibility Centre to help empower PWDs through the power of technology.
The IAC offers IT training for people across disability types, including physical, intellectual, visual and hearing-related impairments, and works with 23 voluntary welfare organisations to provide IT training for their clients.
The centre, managed by the Society for the Physically Disabled, provides basic-level courses on computer fundamentals up to intermediate-level training to prepare PWDs for employment. As of 1 July 2011, more than 4,000 training places comprising IT training sessions, apprenticeship training sessions and assistive technology training sessions have been offered to more than 1,000 trainees. Currently, 26 of these trainees who have completed the apprenticeship programme successfully secured employment.
The Tweet Meet aims to drum up greater awareness of the IAC and encourage more PWDs to take up IT training.
To inject more interest among PWDs, the IAC is expanding its reach this year to benefit 40 recipients with netbooks donated by Microsoft Singapore.
These 40 netbooks will give a new lease of life to the recipients with disabilities, as the highly portable sets will not only help connect them onto the Internet, it will also give them an opportunity to meet new friends and learn new things. Some of the Microsoft’s staff will also be joining the volunteer expedition to deliver the netbooks and help connect the recipients to the social networking media sites.
‘Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential efforts are a long-term commitment to use technology, training and partnerships to transform education, foster local innovation, and enable jobs and opportunities to sustain a continuous cycle of social and economic growth for people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology. With the wide variety of assistive programmes and technology tools available, people with disabilities can just as easily learn computer skills as any other person. We are glad we are able to do a part in contributing to the advancement of more people with disabilities in Singapore,” said Jessica Tan, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore.
Royson Poh, Senior Assistant Director, Technology & Vocational Training at the IAC, agrees: ‘Through the Tweet Meet, we hope to connect as many people with disabilities to the online world. People with disabilities are a part of our society but their disabilities very often result in physical or psychological isolation. Through the Tweet Meet and training at the IAC, we are able to help them to widen their social circle and build up their confidence.”
The inaugural Tweet Meet held in 2010 had a similar component where volunteers from Singapore Polytechnic visited the homes of 12 PWDs to set up webcams and microphones on their home computers and at the same time, helped to connect the recipients via Twitter, Facebook and Skype.
To ensure PWDs continue learning, volunteers for this year’s expedition will befriend the PWD on their own Facebook and Twitter accounts and continue communicating with the recipient for a month after the initial connection.
While last year’s Tweet Meet attracted the attention of more than 200 people who joined the online movement on Twitter and Facebook, IAC hopes more people will join the cause this year.
“We encourage more Singapore residents to step up and join us online for Tweet Meet. You can make a difference in someone’s life by befriending them online and showing them how to use social media to their advantage,” added Royson.
You can be a part of the Tweet Meet community by clicking on the Facebook and Twitter icons on the IAC Homepage at www.iacentre.org.sg. Follow and participate in conversations on IAC’s Facebook wall and discussions.
To lead your voice to our cause in empowering people with disabilities to settle for ‘Nothing Less’ than their full potential, add your Tweets with #Nothing_Less on Twitter and show your support to help enable more PWDs in Singapore. Videos of the volunteer expedition to the homes of 40 PWDs will also be shared on the IAC website from 26 July onwards.