NANAY Miliang of Colawin, Argao stood out in more ways than one.
Apart from being the oldest learner in the room, she also had the most interesting companion. Where other lolas had their small grandchildren in tow, Nanay Miliang’s companion was her four-legged guardian, a nine-year-old dog named Tanduay.
At 82, Nanay Miliang’s age did not stop her from energetically participating in a recent Smart Millenniors session held in their barangay.
Tanduay stayed by Nanay Miliang throughout the session. Together, they listened to the lecturers as they shared their knowledge about smartphones, social media and internet safety. They even participated in icebreakers side by side.
“I’m happy to have learned all these things. But I admit I still have more studying to do when I get home,” she said after the session.
Nanay Miliang and 60 other senior citizens from Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Bantayan Island and from Colawin and neighboring barangays in Argao joined the recent runs of the Smart Millenniors Program in Cebu.
During the sessions, the elders were paired with youth volunteers from their communities, who assisted them as they became more familiar and comfortable with smartphones and social media platforms like Facebook.
The volunteers, who were from the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Youth Coordinating Council and the Colawin National High School, also taught the seniors how to do video calls in chat apps like Messenger and to watch shows online via video streaming services like YouTube.
In Bantayan, participant Marilyn Negapatan, a retired teacher from Bantayan National High School, was all smiles at the end of the session.
“I started with only a little knowledge, but thanks to this program, I was able to enrich myself,” said Negapatan, who was joined by churchmates and fellow chapel leaders.
In Colawin, the excited seniors trooped to the Colawin National High School (CNHS) to learn from their teachers—digital-savvy senior high school students of CNHS.
Last year, Smart fired up a Long Term Evolution site in Colawin. Since then, the once quiet and remote barangay has seen big changes as it became more connected to the rest of the country and the world, with families growing closer and students performing school tasks better.
Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., a native of Colawin and a “Millennior” himself, dropped by the session to address fellow seniors. “Technology has made the world smaller because it brings people closer through connectivity,” he said. “I encourage all of you to learn as much as you can during the program, and to use technology for good.”
The seniors, who mostly had children now living away from them, expressed how much they wanted to learn and keep abreast with technology. “We don’t want to be left behind,” they said.
The youth volunteers teamed up with Smart employee volunteers in facilitating the training sessions.
The Smart Millenniors program, spearheaded by Smart, enlists the help of youth volunteers in teaching senior citizens about technology, particularly how to use their smartphones, mobile data, social media and video to enrich their lives.
For its efforts in expanding the technological know-how of seniors across the country, the Smart Millenniors program was awarded a Silver Anvil at the recent 54th Anvil Awards. (PR)