New initiative gives free laptops to needy students who pay it forward
The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Lenovo Singapore launched the I Learn U Learn initiative on Friday that not only addresses the urgent need to bridge the technology gap among students but also encourages them to give back to the community.
Chua Shu Fen, a 17-year-old Higher Nitec student in human resource and administration, told The New Paper she could not afford a laptop as her family came from a "difficult financial background".
Mr Fitri Ismail, 19, a maritime business student, said: "I did not own a laptop (before), so I mostly used my mobile phone."
The two are among students who have benefited from the initiative and can now continue their home-based learning (HBL) smoothly with new laptops donated by Lenovo Singapore.
"I feel grateful and appreciative to receive this laptop and fortunate to receive help," said Shu Fen.
Maritime business student Cheong Chu Wei, 18, who is also a recipient of a laptop, said providing laptops to lower income students helps them not only with their studies but also in their daily life.
The I Learn U Learn pilot scheme began with Lenovo Singapore donating 50 laptops to needy students who will pay it forward with 12 hours of community service.
They will teach the same HBL skills taught by Lenovo Singapore volunteers to less privileged children under the Central Singapore Community Development Council's (CDC) Nurture Programme.
Three weeks ago, Mr Fitri attended a virtual training session at Rainbow Centre, a beneficiary of Central Singapore CDC, to learn how to help people with disabilities.
He feels that by doing so, he is "giving back to the community".
Said Mr Ronnie Lee, Lenovo Singapore's general manager: "Technology should be an enabler that empowers any student to learn to their best ability.
"We hope those students will always be thirsty in learning and with that, shape a better tomorrow for generations to come."
Ms Cookie Tan, 38, section head of sports studies at ITE and who was involved in overseeing the programme with her colleagues, said: "We are not just helping students catch up with their work, we are also teaching them values of life - how to be appreciative of things given to them and then not just keeping it among themselves but sharing it."