MANILA - At 76 years old, Precy Erguiza’s ultimate wish is to be able to share her beach photos on social media.
“My niece knows how to use Facebook—she dances, swims, takes photos while she is at the beach and shares them right away,” said Nanay Precy, who originally hails from Surigao del Sur. “I don’t know how to do that. I’d like to learn.”
Nanay Precy and 23 other senior citizens from Brgy 672 in Paco, Manila are now closer to this dream after attending the first session of the Smart Millenniors program facilitated by Smart Communications in their barangay recently.
“Millenniors” is a play on the words “millennials”, who are known to be tech savvy, and “seniors”. The goal of the program is to teach technology to the elderly, specifically about smartphones, mobile data and social media.
Assisted by senior high students and Computer Science students from Adamson University, the new batch of Smart Millenniors learned about the basics of smartphones and mobile data. They were also able to setup their Facebook accounts and were assisted by student-volunteers in taking their selfies.
One of Nanay Precy’s classmates, Bernardo “Boying” Corpuz, said smartphones will be useful for him because he has children working abroad.
“I have a sibling in Guam, and their family is already based there,” said Tatay Boying, 76, a jeepney driver. “I am happy that I was taught about the basics of smartphones, and that I can now message my relatives abroad.”
Among the participants was the chair of Brgy 672, Domingo Amaro, who was a senior himself. “Like many of my fellow seniors here in the barangay, I also do not know much about smartphones,” said the 64-year-old Amaro. “My grandchildren are the ones who know more about technology, and they teach me. Now that I already know a few things, with my grandkids’ help, I will get better at this, too.”
For one of the student volunteers, Grade 11 student Danica Tumlos, joining the Smart Millenniors session taught her and her classmates about the values of patience and empathy.
“This is the first outreach program of our student council and we had a great time. It feels good to be able to help out and share our knowledge,” said 17-year-old Tumlos, who is also student council chair. “I learned that to be able to teach well, one must see from the point of view of the learner, too.”
Tumlos and 15 other senior high students helped the participants in the Smart Millenniors session through the different parts of the lecture. “Technology helps improve communication. With many of our seniors having children and grandchildren working abroad, they can use these technologies to easily connect with their loved ones overseas.”
“We hope that after we taught them about the basic functions of smartphones, it will be easier for them to keep up with future Millenniors sessions,” she added.
"As the Smart Millenniors program reaches more seniors, we are further spreading the word that technology is for both young and old,” said Smart Public Affairs head Ramon Isberto. “With the world going digital, we are working to make smartphones and mobile data accessible to all.”
“With the Smart Millenniors program, Smart is reiterating its commitment to bring digital learning to everyone, regardless of age,” said Stephanie Orlino, Smart Community Partnerships senior manager. “We look forward to partnering with more communities for this initiative.”