Elderly learn digital

PLDT and Smart ramped up their digital-inclusion efforts in the Visayas, empowering senior citizens and visually impaired persons through digital training, under their Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Advocacy through Technology program.

IDEATe aims to enhance the digital skills of individuals, particularly those from vulnerable sectors, to ensure that no one is left behind, as technology advances.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to empower senior citizens and visually impaired persons in Visayas, by increasing their confidence in using mobile technology to assist them with their daily tasks. With the help of our partners from both government and private sectors, we’ve been able to reach out to more vulnerable communities and create a more inclusive world for them,” said Marylou Gocotano, Visayas relations head, stakeholder management at PLDT and Smart.

Together with non-profit organization ATRIEV and the provincial government of Negros Oriental, PLDT and Smart supported the Android accessibility training for 20 visually impaired persons in the province.

ATRIEV capacitates visually impaired persons using technology-enabled assistive programs. The 10-day training helped participants navigate their Android devices independently with the help of a TalkBack screen reader.

They were also introduced to digital tools and apps that they can maximize for their daily activities and businesses, such as social media, email services, editing apps, and online word processors, among others.

“It’s my first time using my device’s screen reader feature, and it has been very helpful. This training has given me a lot more confidence, especially in my job search,” said Kris Santillan from Valencia City, who has been visually impaired since he was in high school.

Expanding the reach of their inclusion initiatives, PLDT and Smart also implemented digital training for Cebuano seniors through their Better Today platform. The group partnered with French NGO Passerelles Numériques Philippines and the local government units of Lapu-Lapu City and Cebu City to hold a digital literacy and mental health awareness training for 200 senior citizens.