In the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami back in December 2004, a voluntary group known as the Lions Club of Phuket Andaman Sea in partnership with another nonprofit known as the Child Watch Phuket, attempted to respond to the needs of countless children in Thailand that were victimized by the tsunami.
With an outpour of support for their efforts, the collaboration has then paved the way for the establishment of a now independently functioning nonprofit organization which we all know as the Phuket Sunshine Village Foundation.
The Phuket Sunshine Village Foundation’s purpose is simple and straightforward: to help underprivileged children by providing for them their basic needs such as food, shelter, education and medical services.
In addition to their services, Franco Ferri, a member of their board of directors, has shared that they also provide computer-literacy trainings for the children. He emphasized that nowadays, you really need to have these [ICT]skills. Aside from basic computer-literacy as an advantage in doing their homework, Franco also shared that these skills were necessary for the children’s future and that these would greatly affect the professional opportunities that would be made available later on.
In attempting to create such an impact on children, one couldn’t help but wonder how sophisticated their ICT training program might be, or how advanced their equipment is. But surprisingly, Franco shared that they were really doing all of that with just a handful of donated computers which, at that time, ran on pirated software.
He was also quick to add that they didn’t even have the necessary professionals to administer the formal trainings in the beginning. Without the personnel, the children would just end up using the computers for games! But, Franco also shared that it was the children’s desire to learn that made the training possible. It was through their proactive effort that they managed to invite a computer teacher from a nearby school to voluntarily provide these trainings regularly.
Franco adds that through TechSoup Asia, they managed to get rid of the counterfeit software and replace them with genuine licenses of Windows 7 and Office 2010 suites which are being used today by both their staff and the children. He emphasized that this was their way of teaching the kids that using counterfeit software was pointless because of the many risks involved.
The major risk associated to using the counterfeit software, as shared by Franco, was their susceptibility to viruses. By replacing them with the genuine licenses they got from TechSoup Asia, the foundation then was able to gain a sense of security from viruses and other malware threats. Also, Franco shares that with the genuine Microsoft licenses, they have now also gained a “legal advantage” over other organizations and even companies, since the use of counterfeit software is known to be rampant even for professional organizations in Thailand.