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Terry and Rina’s journeys to digital savvy at +65

Terry and Rina, 65+ year-old ladies from the south of Italy now living near Milan with their families, have always been curious and eager to learn. They recently attended a digital course for seniors in their town, Vimercate, with the help of the Libera Compagnia di Arti & Mestieri Sociali Association, in collaboration with the Municipality, as part of the “Cittadinanza al Lavoro” project. This project aims to combat unemployment within the local territory and facilitate re-entry into the job market for people who have been excluded due to the pandemic.

The computer training was part of the Digital Unify program offered by the ST Foundation, called “Introduction to Computer Basics.” The course had a total duration of nearly two months, with weekly sessions lasting two hours each. It was very intense but rewarding. The equipment was provided entirely by the ST Foundation while five ST volunteers led the course. Terry regularly attends this senior center and needed to refresh her knowledge, especially since there are new applications and tools now available. She felt the need to learn how to protect herself from possible violations of her privacy or attacks on her security that come through email. Now, she has learned how not to give unnecessary consents and to avoid being bombarded by SPAM messages. She feels more secure and understands how to interact with her bank. When she told her son what she had learned, he commented, “It took a course held by the ST Foundation for you to believe what I had already told you. Well done!” With some past experience with Word, Rina wanted to refresh her skills and learn to protect her online privacy and security. She learned to write and send emails, create and print calendars, and perform basic calculations with Excel, thanks to the equipment provided by the Foundation.

The experience has had a profoundly positive impact on Rina’s life, with her children expressing pride and happiness at seeing their mother embrace new challenges. They are even creating computer exercises to help her maintain her newfound skills.

The experiences of Terry and Rina are reminders that it’s never too late to learn something new, to take a step forward, and to become more independent in a world that’s constantly changing. They are not just keeping up; they are setting the pace, showing that age is just a number when it comes to learning and living in the digital age.