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Government Donates Computers to the Elderly and Disabled

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Over 50 Government bureaux and departments have donated more than 1,200 computers to the elderly and people with disabilities so that these people can have access to computer facilities and benefit from the advancement of information technology (IT), the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Information Technology and Broadcasting), Mr Francis Ho, said today (November 23).

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the CompuAid computer donation programme today, Mr Ho said that the Government was committed to bridging digital divide in the community. The recycling of surplus computers within the Government and donation of these computers to people in need was one of the Government's wide ranging initiatives to build a digitally inclusive society.

"The concerned bureaux and departments have followed Government's internal regulations and guidelines and adopted stringent procedures which are in line with the best practices in the industry to erase any data stored in the computers to be donated before the computers are delivered to the beneficiaries," Mr Ho emphasised.

"One of the major objectives of our Digital 21 Strategy is to ensure that all sectors of our community can benefit from IT developments. We have implemented a comprehensive programme of measures to enhance the IT knowledge and skills of those who have lesser opportunities to use IT, to encourage these people to use IT, and provide them with free computer facilities.

"This year alone, we will invest more than $670 million in various initiatives to strengthen the IT capabilities of the community," Mr Ho said.

Regarding the provision of public computer facilities, Mr Ho pointed out that about 5,000 computers had been installed in various convenient locations across the territory for free use by members of the public. Special tools and software were also installed at computers at designated locations to facilitate the blind and visually impaired.

"We have also provided free IT awareness courses for more than 60,000 members of the public, including the elderly, housewives, and people with disabilities. A new public enquiry service, IT Easy Link, was launched in June this year to provide help-desk service to answer public enquiries through telephone, fax and e-mail on common use of IT," Mr Ho said.

Noting that the Government was committed to enhancing the community's awareness and knowledge of IT through the provision of these training and facilities, Mr Ho emphasised that the participation and collaboration of the IT industry, social services organizations, and the media were of paramount importance in achieving the objective. He also commended the organisers and sponsors of the donation campaign and those volunteers who assisted to implement the campaign.

"The Government will work hand-in-hand with the community to build a digitally inclusive society," Mr Ho said.

End/Saturday, November 23, 2002

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