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Pro Senectute encourages "silver surfers"

Pro Senectute is encouraging more pensioners to get online

(Keystone Archive)

Pro Senectute, the Swiss charity which champions the rights of the elderly, is running a pioneering programme to get the older generation online.

In conjunction with Credit Suisse and the Argaau cantonal bank, Pro Senectute is encouraging pensioners to come forward for free internet training. So far around 100 men and women, aged between 60 and 84, have dived into the world wide web and started surfing.

The aim of the project is to set up a permanent internet café in the canton run by the "silver surfers" themselves.

One seventy-year-old participant said it was important for them to learn about the net because you can click on websites to find out more about what is on the television, on the radio and in the newspapers.

Enthusiasm from the pensioners towards the information superhighway has been overwhelming. The most commonly hit websites are the Swiss national railways to find out about train timetables and holiday destinations.

For the most part, the group of internet trainees are made up of married couples, but one single surfer recently asked how to put an advert onto a lonely hearts website hoping to find a match in cyberspace.

The project is being run by the two sponsors; Argaau's cantonal bank and Credit Suisse with Pro Senectutue's offering advice and expertise. Employees from the two banks take trainees in pairs and show them how to surf the net. The teaching and time online is given to the charity for free.

Thomas Fuchs, the project leader, hopes that other cantons will learn from the Aargau scheme and follow suit.

swissinfo with agencies


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