Of Bridging the Digital Divide
"We bridge the gap for the underprivileged groups in society in the era of Information Age."
To bridge this gap, the Samsung SDS provides infrastructure and educational support activities to children/youth, people with disabilities, senior citizens and disadvantaged communities who lack access to the ICT or are deprived of benefits. This is because they do not know how to effectively take advantage of given opportunities due to their physical, geographical and economic difficulties.
Providing IT-based assistive devices to students with disabilities
To improve the accessibility of information for students with disabilities, Samsung SDS has held the annual ‘Ceremony of Delivering Customized IT Assistive Devices to Students with Disabilities’ since 2009. Since the event is financed with ‘smart Bridge’ funds donated by employees on a monthly basis, it can be viewed as Samsung SDS’s leading social contribution activity carried out in the name of employees. Also, by providing customized IT assistive devices to selected students with disabilities, the company aims to improve access to information and help students plan their futures in relation to IT.
Samsung SDS is playing a leading role in providing personalized IT assistive devices. For students with visual impairments, the company provides devices equipped with
braille and screen magnification software; for students with hearing impairments, it provides FM(Frequency Modulation) hearing aids and bone-conduction headphones; and for students with physical disabilities, laptop computers, joystick mice and electric wheelchairs are provided. As much as 150 students have received IT assistive devices through its support. Among those students there is one who sent the company a letter of appreciation upon becoming an English teacher after graduating from a college of education with distinction thanks to Samsung SDS’s support. Our continuous lead in social contribution activity already has made remarkable changes in society and continues to give hopes to students with disabilities.
SDS IT Classes of Love
Samsung SDS has worked with local NGOs in developing countries in donating PCs and IT equipment to help the local communities build ICT infrastructure, and also in operating ‘SDS IT Classes of Love’. Since its opening in 2004, ‘SDS IT Classes of Love’ have been provided twice each year (in the first and second halves of the year, respectively). Since the establishment of the first location which is in Mongolia, twenty-three locations have been opened in fourteen regions around the world, including Malaysia, Paraguay, Tajikistan and China.
To operate its SDS IT Classes of Love, the company has provided about 360 PCs, printers, mice and other IT equipment to schools and child care facilities worldwide. For children in developing countries living in poor conditions without access to the benefits of IT advancements, the SDS IT Classes of Love have become a place of hope where children’s learning abilities are improved, quality education is offered using IT and the children nurture their dreams about the future world of information.
In addition to this, the company continues to donate PCs to domestic volunteer locations. Since it began donations to youth detention centers in 1995, the company has provided about 3,600 PCs to volunteer locations and to other socially disadvantaged groups, contributing to the improvement of access to information and of society’s ability to use information.
Support activities to strengthen ICT competitiveness of traditional markets
The Samsung SDS is leading its efforts to improve the competitiveness of traditional markets and support their revitalization through ICT. The company installs digital signage systems near traditional markets to provide young people and local residents who are not always up-to-date in traditional markets with information including market locations, stores and products. By conducting the “Traditional Market ICT Leader Education”, it strengthens the ICT capabilities of traditional market merchants and runs a website using an employee reporter group that is devoted to these traditional markets to spread a warm and friendly image of traditional markets among all Samsung Group’s employees.
A digital signage system employs a touch screen-based ICT to promote easy communication between traditional market merchants and customers by attracting the attention of market visitors which also can provide information on markets and sales. The system thus helps increase the accessibility of traditional markets for family consumers, from young people to middle aged people.
A digital signage system offers real-time consents, including the “Market Information” with a market map and products available at stores, the “Event Information” about special sales, and the “Compliment Stamps” through which customers give compliments on stores. For instance, if you select the “Fruits” category on the market map, the system displays enlarged images of relevant stores; if you select a store, its accurate location, products, contact information and whether it accept credit cards or Onnuri gift certificates will appear. Furthermore, the system offers a complete view of the Compliment Stamps entered by customers, increasing the convenience of shopping.
The ICT leader education is comprised of theoretical and field courses. In which it offers special lectures and practices on methods of increasing market sales using smartphones on the internet and social media marketing strategies, as well as visiting successful IT-based stores. This educational program provides practical help and is customized to suit the needs of middle-aged merchants, who are not familiar with IT and digital devices. Consisting of classroom lectures that focus on practices and distance courses on theories such as advanced marketing strategies, the program allows students to learn and apply their learning at various levels in their field.
Support activities for youth in detention centers nationwide
In 1995, Samsung SDS launched an activity supporting youths at youth detention centers across the country. Since then, it has become one of the company’s leading social contribution activities through which it helps neglected youths who are in need of a proper home, care and attention and are unable to adapt to society by providing them with ICT infrastructure/education and nurturing hope.
Samsung SDS’s local employee volunteer teams and youth detention centers nationwide work closely together to provide IT education. Since 1996, they have organized the Purmi ITeen Top Contest in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice to cultivate the abilities of youths at detention centers to use IT. At the Purmi ITeen Top Contest, youths at detention centers and teachers participate in the e-Test to evaluate students’ abilities in the use of PCs, and awards are handed out based on the results. The contest has become an opportunity to help youths enjoy and improve their self-esteems. In addition, noted figures are invited to give speeches about hope, suggest visions to youths and provide them with the chance to learn about the value of life.
With the recent increase in IT-related crime and with neglected children’s and youth’s addiction to IT emerging as a social issue, the company began to train employee instructor in 2010, and has since provided youths at detention centers with education on preventing the negative effects of IT twice a year. Upon being appointed as instructors, employees receive an honorary teacher’s certificate from the Ministry of Justice and visit ten youth detention centers across the country to give special speeches. These employees attend specialized social contribution activities aligned with Samsung SDS’s business characteristics, such as guidelines for the proper use of IT and fun stories about IT, as well as preventing the negative effects of IT.
Additionally, the company provides scholarships for youths at detention centers who are entering college, supports sports competitions and hosts ‘Happy Santa’ events at the end of the year. Its activities range from academic support to physical and mental support, helping youth with social rehabilitation and fostering future talent.
Employee Mentoring Activities
IT Mentoring for Youth from Parentless Homes and Low-Income Families
Since 1994, Samsung SDS has selected ‘IT Hope Trees’ among youths from parentless and low-income homes who have dreams for and talent in IT. It connects them with employees for 1:1 mentoring and provides them with scholarships. Through monthly scholarship payments, the company helps youths participate in IT-related learning. Aside from the scholarships, the company also provides uniform costs and holiday gifts for New Year’s Day and the South Korean harvest holiday of Chuseok, so that the IT Hope Trees can nurture their dreams until they graduate from high school.
Through mentoring with employees, the students have the opportunity to learn about IT, have increased access to information and grow up to become healthy members of society.
IT Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities
Since 2005, Samsung SDS has selected youth with disabilities and with talent for IT and provided scholarships, striving to improve their access to information. To enhance the abilities of youth with disabilities to use IT and support their social rehabilitation, the company provides scholarships for IT education. It also spearheads efforts to resolve the digital divide for youth with disabilities by offering the employee mentoring program for 1:1 IT education and by inviting the youth to the company.
Up until now, a total of 80 students have received the IT scholarships, and some of them entered IT-related departments at colleges to cultivate their IT expertise while others get IT-related jobs, doing their part as proud members of society.
Dream Mentoring for Students at Affiliated High Schools
As part of its talent development plan for students who pursue IT-related dream careers, Samsung SDS provides “Dream Mentoring”. Through Dream Mentoring, the company offers IT job experience and mentoring programs, helping youth develop a healthy perspective on careers and a proper set of values.
Aside from affiliated high schools, the company invites students at local high schools for field trips to its plants, video conference meetings with those who graduated from the same schools, employees’ special speeches on jobs, and a consulting program with mentors. Through the activities, employees participate in educational donations and students gain second-hand job experiences, planning their future careers in ICT fields.
ICT education support activities
As part of its support for disadvantaged groups lacking access to information, Samsung SDS has provided ICT education. By working with various social work facilities in local communities, the company offers customized education for different age groups, from children/youth to people with disabilities and to seniors. Recently, the company has begun to promote ICT education for children/youth living in mountainous and remote areas.
To implement ICT education tailored to different groups, the company provides OA education for children/youth, instructions for using PCs for seniors, as well as instructions for searching the Internet and using smartphones. The company is helping them enjoy the benefits of ICT by improving their abilities to utilize IT. Furthermore, the company not only offers education but also makes products using Photoshop and hosts IT contests to increase the accessibility of ICT.