Wounded soldiers from Colombia will learn computer skills for a return to civilian life, at a new Microsoft-sponsored center in Colombia’s second largest city, national media reported Thursday.
The Colombian government, along with Microsoft and the Organization of American States (OAS), created the information technology (IT) education center for wounded soldiers recovering at the Paramillo Rehabilitation Center for the Company of Healing Heroes in Medellin, Colombia’s Caracol Radio reported on Thursday.
Many soldiers wounded in combat have never used a computer before, and this program is designed to provide them with an educational opportunity to ease their re-integration back into civilian life.
“For these soldiers that are in the process of rehabilitation, [we’ve provided] technological training throughout all the services of the system. Some of the soldiers, none of them have used a computer in their lives. Today they have the opportunity to be trained in different programs and access to the kind of job the systems need,” said Colombia’s Deputy Defense Minister Javier Perez Mejia.
“This helps us for when we re-integrate back into civilian life. It helps us to teach our children more, and helps us to work and be employed,” said a 28-year-old soldier recovering from internal injuries caused by the explosion of a landmine.
According to the Microsoft president for Latin America, Hernan Rincon, the $2 million IT center will benefit 1,000 people over the next two years.
“For 10 years we have been associated with Trust for the Americas [branch of OAS] for working on closing the digital divide. This is a center that has computers of the latest technology and software of the latest technology,” said Rincon.
Medellin is the third Colombian city to install such a program after Bogota and Barranquilla while there are a total of 160 in all of Latin America.
The project was co-sponsored by Microsoft’s YouthSpark empowerment program, which is a company-wide, global initiative to create opportunities for over 300 million youth in over 100 countries, according to the Microsoft website.
- Abierto Centro de Alta Tecnologia para soldados heridos en combate (Caracol Radio)
- A year of helping young people create and capture opportunity (YouthSpark Microsoft)