September 1, 2006 — The Asia Foundation, the Microsoft Corporation, and the Guangdong Women’s Professional Technical College recently opened a new information technology learning center for migrant women workers and local community members in Panyu, China. The center, hosted by the Guangdong Women’s Professional Technical College, aims to provide migrant women workers and community members, particularly those from disadvantaged groups, with information technology (IT) skills that will help to increase their career opportunities in the future. More than 2000 migrant women workers and other community members will receive basic IT training at the center in the course of the two-year program.
The Panyu center is part of the Foundation’s broader migrant women worker program in China and is a component of a larger first-of-its-kind program in Guangdong to teach computer skills to migrant women workers. This is the second Community Technology Learning Center (CTLC) The Asia Foundation has opened in Guangdong with the support of the Microsoft Corporation, and the Guangdong Women’s Professional Technical College.
In the first year of this program, more than 1,000 women workers learned IT skills and many also learned how to become IT trainers themselves at the first CTLC in Sanxiang Township, Zhongshan City, Guangdong.
Microsoft generously supported the programs with software and a $100,000 grant, the Guangdong Women’s Professional Technical College is contributing funds to purchase of computers, house the CTLC, and provide internet access and computer maintenance.
The Guangdong Women’s Professional Technical College CTLC is equipped with 57 computers, 20 of which were provided by Microsoft, 37 by the college. Leaflets about the free classes were distributed in nearby factories through collaboration with local women’s federation and the Export Promotion Office.
“As a leader in the information industry, we hope that our efforts will allow those who have not had the opportunity to study to get a grounding from which they can grow, to develop their unlimited potential,” Zhang Ye, Community Affairs Director, Microsoft China said.
“This program is an important development of The Asia Foundation’s multi-sector programs for migrant women workers that help to build their confidence, increase their livelihoods, and integrate them socially into their communities,” said Jonathan Stromseth, The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative for China.
“The Guangdong Women’s Professional Technical College attaches great importance to this cooperation program. Even before the program’s official launch, the college staff have put in a lot of work and in fact, 300 people have already taken part in the computer training at our college,” Wu Hongyue, president of the college said.
Wen Xin, a migrant worker originally from Hubei Province who took part in the Sanxiang program, attended the new CTLC launch ceremony and noted, “By studying, women workers moved away from the feeling that computers are something mysterious and learned some computer skills.”
The Asia Foundation looks forward to continuing the CTLC program with the generous support of Microsoft Corporation.