Letter From the President
January 7, 2018
Internet connection is a real need rather than a luxury nowadays. Access to the internet and to ICT tools is a necessity as it is required to live proficiently in the modern world. They give us the means we need to communicate with our personal and professional networks (i.e.: family, friends on one side and colleagues, schools, banks, etc. on the other) and moreover they are among the key driving forces behind economic growth boosting development.
Unfortunately, this “treasure” is still unavailable for a large portion of people scattered all over the world that are affected by the digital divide issue.
This term digital divide refers to the gap in demographics and regions that have access to ICT tools. According to statistics from the World Bank approximately 3.9 billion people do not have access to the internet and more in detail this number includes: 1) developing country civilians that cannot access the internet because they either don’t have access to electricity or they live outside of 3G coverage; 2) people who live below the poverty line and cannot afford broadband internet; 3) elderly and disabled people who are either physically or mentally unable to use a computer or to surf the Internet; 4) people who are electronically illiterate that is those who don’t know how to use a computer due to a lack of ad hoc education.
How can we contribute to bridge this gap?
At the ST Foundation we developed, back in 2003 with the support of STMicroelectronics volunteers, what we called the Digital Unify Program with the target of contributing to eliminate all the existing barriers between individuals and, as a consequence, reinforcing the beneficial impacts ICT tools can bring into their lives.
Since then our mission has always been to spread the benefits of digital technology to disadvantaged people throughout the world with the support of STMicroelectronics, its employees who have decided to come onboard becoming volunteers, our staff and partners in all intervention areas.
After 14 years of hard work I’m glad to say that 2017 represented a major milestone in ST Foundation’s activity. More than 500,000 people have been trained in 26 different countries since the inception of the program, and more than 100,000 students took part in the Informatics Computer Basics and the Tablet for Kids classes in 2017 alone.
Clearly there is still a lot of work to do to make our personal contribution to closing the gap of 3.9 billion people not having access to digital technologies, but nevertheless I feel we are heading the right direction and with the support of all our friends we will make it.
Together we can make the difference. By combining, competences and skills we can go even further and build a brighter future for everyone.