It is not just students and teachers who benefit from having contact with computers. The unemployed and underprivileged can also derive huge gains, given the right training and access to technology. Unfortunately this access is not usually on offer to those who need it the most. Only 1 billion out of the 6 billion people in the world use information technology. This is why Microsoft is committed to 'bridging the digital divide', said Herman Lam, general manager of Microsoft Hong Kong. Although the population in Hong Kong is generally very technologically advanced, Mr Lam pointed out that between 5 and 10 per cent of people here did not have access to computers. 'We want to make sure that they have access to technology, equipment and training,' he said. 'Every person deserves a chance to reach their full potential.' To this end, Microsoft Hong Kong works with non-governmental organisations under its Unlimited Potential initiative to provide free IT training and education to the underprivileged, including children from single-parent families, people with mental illnesses, recent immigrants from mainland China and ethnic minorities. More than 30,000 people of all ages and backgrounds have benefited from the IT training programmes offered by 25 Community Technology Learning Centres supported by Microsoft Hong Kong. Out of these 25 centres, 17 have been opened by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups and eight by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service. Each centre provides free technology training to people of all ages and abilities who want to learn about computers, use the internet, explore new careers, further their education, participate in community activities or develop technology skills.