BPTT opens IT doors for seniors

Monday, February 25, 2019

THIRTY senior citizens from north-west Trinidad were given a late, but exciting, introduction to the world of information technology when they graduated from an intensive five-day workshop at the Carenage Homework Centre in February.

Sponsored by energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago, the workshop covered the fundamentals of computer literacy, affording the enthusiastic adult learners the privilege of enjoying the benefits of the pervasive age of information technology.

“The course has been very exciting. I learnt how to open my own email account and send and receive emails. I can also go on the internet and catch up on the latest world news, sports and other topics of interest. I couldn’t do that before. It shows that you are never too old to learn,” said a happy Gary Leopold, 65, of Francis Street, Carenage.

The most exciting moment for the participants came when they erupted in delight on hearing that they could keep the Samsung tablets provided by BPTT for use during the workshop. “Wow! I can’t believe we are getting to take home the tablet. This is the icing on the cake. We are really grateful to BPTT for giving us the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the new age technology, and on top of that, we are getting these wonderful tablets,” said an enthusiastic Leonora Smith, of La Puerta, Diego Martin, the oldest participant at 83.

The workshop was conducted by Trinidad-born Sonja Shuffler, who is the Principal Officer for the Toronto, Canada-based IT for Seniors, a non-governmental organisation aimed at empowering senior citizens to “bridge the gap” to  the world of information technology.

BPTT’s Community Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations Advisor, Joel Primus, was thrilled with the enthusiasm displayed by the senior citizens: “It is heartwarming to see the glow of excitement and satisfaction on the faces of these seniors. This experience has opened up a real life adventure for them. As some of them have indicated, they wouldn’t have to depend on  family or relatives to send messages for them or to source information. They literally have the world at their fingertips. Their eager participation in this IT workshop has brought new meaning to their lives. That alone is justification for BPTT’s involvement in this project.”

Primus explained that the IT for Seniors exercise complemented BPTT’s nationwide education platform which embraces initiatives from early childhood care and education, primary and secondary, to tertiary and post-tertiary levels.

Carenage-born Shuffler said she was motivated to conduct the workshop simply because she wanted to “give back to the community” where she was born and grew up. “I left Trinidad 40 years ago and I felt that a workshop like this for seniors would bring a lot of joy and meaning to them. Over the five days, you could see the gradual change in their attitude as they became more familiar with the technology. In one week, their lives have been changed forever. They owe it all to BPTT’s corporate social responsibility,” said Shuffler, obviously satisfied with a job well done.

"The course has been very exciting. It shows that you are never too old to learn."