I had the opportunity to witness deprivation firsthand in 2012 while working as a volunteer for Life Project 4 Youth in Manila, Philippines. As part of the social work project, I worked closely with a group of young adults (mostly street children), recovering addicts, and former convicts, most of whom lived in extreme poverty with family income of less than $2 a day.
I found myself with a group of talented young adults with skills and dreams, in desperate need for guidance and direction. One key lesson I learned early on was that charity is not the answer – empowerment is. For the next three years, I worked towards training the group to help them find their feet. I coached the group on how to find a job, save money, and become financially independent. My experience in Philippines not only taught me the most valuable life lessons but also shaped my vision that led me to where I am today.
My experience in Manila sparked my passion to facilitate inclusion for a holistic development of society. It did not take long for me to understand that because automation is rapidly changing the world around us and creating deeper divides in society, I needed to work towards empowering marginalized people digitally if I wanted to make a real impact.
My long experience in volunteer work and exposure to grassroots issues has convinced me that digital inclusion is the only way forward – and it starts with changing the popular belief that automation and the digital revolution are only destroying opportunities. The reality is that with the right intent and leadership digital can be transformed into an opportunity and tool of empowerment for all.
Once I returned from Philippines and was looking to involve corporates to support inclusion through digital literacy, I found that my values most aligned with those of Capgemini, a leader in digital technology. It came as a pleasant surprise to find Capgemini already working towards a digitally inclusive future through its Corporate Social Responsibility outreach to help marginalized people by sharing skills and expertise. What moved me the most was Capgemini’s mission to make digital an opportunity for all and its commitment to reskill marginalized people to prepare them for a future workplace.
When a company such as Capgemini decides to use its diverse skills, vast network, and more than 200,000 employees to reduce the digital divide in society, you know that a paradigm shift is the least one could expect. And I know I am at the right place leading the Digital Inclusion pillar of Capgemini CSR, sharing my dreams and values with a group of like-minded people looking to make a real difference.
Lucie Taurines is the head of Digital Inclusion at Capgemini.