Message from the President
Over the past years, it has been commonly understood that the mission of the Foundation was to help bridging the digital divide in those countries where most of the population never had access to the informatics. And this was the right approach in a period when not all the citizens of the so called developed countries had to face the daily usage of a computer.
Times have changed. The world is now facing a rapid digitalisation process which modifies the nature and the extent of the digital divide. Everywhere, the average citizen is confronted to the use of informatics in his day-to-day life. This does not come without difficulties. Too many people are not able to use properly internet. Too many people are looking for the help of their neighbour or of their children to complete administrative tasks which, once upon a time, were so simple. All in all, the digital divide has become more global, more insidious; and too many people are suffering from this evolution.
The Foundation is decided to take this fundamental evolution into consideration. This is the reason why it has slightly changed the description of its mission. Slightly. Just one word in the identity of the potential beneficiaries. From « underprivileged countries » to « underprivileged populations ». But it has significant consequences.
This means that the Foundation wants to be also present in Europe, in Singapore, may be in America later on, while still keeping or developing its global operations in Africa and Asia. This means that we want to be close to those identified needy populations, like people in prisons in Italy, like young people in the big towns suburbs in France, like new or older migrants whatever the place they will be, like senior people who are more and more in difficulty in their daily life.
To achieve this new set of objectives, it was essential to reinforce our local teams. Illustrating again the commitment of ST volunteers vis-a-vis the Foundation, Patrick Dureault and Pietro Palella, two former site managers, are joining the Foundation. Their experience and dedication will be key for the success of the Foundation in France and Italy. We are still looking for the « expert » who could raise our development plan for Malta. And would a significant need appear in Singapore, we will do the same there.
Executing this move, the Foundation also needs to develop an adapted offer. Our basic program (the DU program) is still the solution to many situations, but the Foundation is prepared to develop amended versions which, depending upon the environment, will be simpler or more advanced. Also, the program for the kids (Tablets for kids, T4K) should be used in many countries with light adaptations to the local context. Last but not least, the Foundation has decided that the senior population would deserve the development of a specific program. This new tool (Tablet for senior, T4S) is under development and should be available by the end of this year, and tested in France as a pilot country.
In no way should the Foundation leave its current activities in Africa and Asia, which are so useful and with so many opportunities in those countries in which we operate. But at the same time, we are entering into a new adventure. A challenging one. All volunteers will be more than welcome, with those from ST in the first place. We have great achievements to pursue, which are likely to comfort the image of ST, also in the immediate environment of the sites in which it operates. All volunteers will be more than welcome. And I can assure them that the personal benefit they will draw from the experience is incredible. Join the Foundation and make it happen!