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Posted On: 14 December 2016 07:16 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:17 pm

Qatar Charity announces Computer Science Week tie-up with Microsoft for benefit of special-needs children

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Qatar Charity, as part of its annual winter programme, today announced an event that will teach the basics of computing to those who need it most.

The lessons coinciding with International Day for Persons with Disabilities, on 3 December – were conducted in partnership with Microsoft Qatar, as part of its Computer Science Week initiative. Children with special needs, as well as orphans, young Qatari females and Qatari mothers will be coached by experts from Microsoft’s Philanthropies and Services teams, on important aspects of information technology.

Last year Qatar Charity worked with Microsoft and ExxonMobil Qatar to teach the fundamentals of computer-game coding to orphans, using Microsoft’s visual-programing language, Kodu.

This year’s classroom sessions began on 1st December, with basic ICT training for children with mild disabilities. The purpose of the course is to introduce the concept of computing to those who may otherwise not get the opportunity to learn from specialists.

During the classes, mentors covered what a computer is, and the varying types of device that qualify as computers. Students will also get a run-down of the major components inside a computer, and the typical peripherals that make machines more usable. There were lessons on how to use a mouse and keyboard, and an overview of the Windows desktop, as well as software applications such as Microsoft Paint, Word and PowerPoint.

Bilal Tamimi from Microsoft’s Service team introduced children to the wonders of the Internet, explaining what it is, how it works, and how to get the most out of it. Web services such as Bing search, Outlook email and calendar, Skype communication, and games like Minecraft were also covered.

“At Qatar Charity we consider ourselves bringers of hope to the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Hamed Shihadeh - Community Partnership Manager. “In ensuring the basic human dignity of all, regardless of circumstance, access to technology is a critical step. It is a privilege to once again work with Microsoft towards this goal, as we prepare to observe International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Microsoft has done great work around the world in bringing the latest hardware and software to the underprivileged and those with special needs. They are a key partner in our ongoing work here in Qatar.”

Qatar Charity and Microsoft also staged training sessions at Microsoft’s facilities in Qatar Science and Technology Park, specifically for Minecraft gamers, on 8 December for young orphan students, and taking place on 15 December for young Qatari female students.

On 22 December, Qatar Charity will turn its attention to the all-important issue of Internet safety, by running awareness sessions for Qatari mothers that will allow them to keep their children from coming to harm when surfing the World Wide Web.

“Technology gives young people a voice; it helps them stay in touch with family and friends; it teaches them about the world around them,” said Hamed Shihadeh. “These benefits should not be conditional, based on circumstances. They should be available to all. We will continue to work towards that goal and we look forward to partnering with like-minded organisations such as Microsoft, to realise that vision.”

“Microsoft’s mission has always been to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more,” said Lana Khalaf, Acting General Manager of Microsoft Qatar. “While great technology is a boon to many, some people have yet to benefit from advances in services and applications. Citizen programmes like Philanthropies allow us to extend our delivery ecosystem and place valuable, beneficial tools in the hands of even more people. Microsoft Philanthropies works towards greater inclusion for those who do not yet have access to technologies such as email, communication platforms, the Internet and games. It is always a great honour to work alongside organisations, like Qatar Charity, that have similar aspirations.”