Having worked in close proximity with families and children residing in rental households, it was observed that there are rental households without laptops and Internet access despite the support schemes. At the recent budget debate, Mr Seah Kian Peng shared that research on a representative sample of Singaporeans has shown 44% families who lived in rental units did not have a connection, and 44% lacked a computer or a laptop at home. Many of them also have limited digital literacy skills to operate and manage their personal devices.
The lack of digital access and skills prevents people from lower-income backgrounds from accessing opportunities that could potentially uplift their socioeconomic status. Building digitally inclusive communities in Singapore is crucial to ensure everyone in society progresses together. Project D.I.P. hopes to promote digital inclusion holistically among the lower-income communities in Singapore through a 4E framework – Equip, Empower, Enable and Elevate. The team rallies support from the People, Private and Public (3P) sectors to (a) equip each student with a laptop; (b) empower students with digital literacy skills; (c) enable each household to have stable internet access; and (d) elevate IT capacities in the community.
Committed to the Cause
Francesca is one of the recipients of Singapore Youth Award 2019. An educator by profession and a social worker by conviction, Francesca is an active youth leader in the community. She founded a Non-Profit Organisation, Bringing Love to Every Single Soul (BLESS), that works with low-income families living in rental communities. Francesca is also a council member of the People’s Association Youth Movement and a committee member of Samaritans of Singapore. Francesca represented Singapore in several bilateral programmes. She was the Head of Delegate for the Singapore-Indonesia Youth Leaders Exchange Programme in 2020. She also leads a team of volunteers to look into the mental well-being of youths at-risk. Francesca graduated with a Masters in Social Work from National University of Singapore, specialising in family and community development.