We’ve been looking for ways to get involved in the Ottawa community – to give back – because let’s face it, living in a developed country, attending a good school… We’re more fortunate than a lot of the global population. One program we’re getting involved with is “Computers for Communities”. A message from the organizer:
Computers For Communities:
Volunteers Building a Bridge Across the Digital Divide
The Ottawa Chapter of Computers For Communities is a locally operated
not for profit community organisation striving to bridge the digital
divide in the National Capital Region. We provide refurbished computers,
hands-on experiential education, Internet access and job skills training
in exchange for community service.
Computers For Communities advocates the use of affordable, reliable and
accessible technology solutions including mature Free and Open Source
Software (FOSS) in order to help.
Our group provides three program streams. First, a volunteer can
contribute 24 hours of community service in exchange for a refurbished
computer. This can include many non-technical activities such as
networking, teaching or being a volunteer monitor at one of our
community computer labs.
The second stream is for those looking for a hands on learning
experience. We provide the materials and training to build computers
from basic components. Participants who commit to learning how to build
systems and install software can earn their own machine after completing
six (6) refurbished computers.
The third stream is our granting program. With the extra computers
created through our build program we pass them along to organisations
that will maximise their impact. One example is our community computer
lab initiative. We are teaming up with subsidise housing units,
community centres and organisations to create volunteer run computer
Computers for Communities provides the computers, volunteer training
and, where possible, one year of technical support for every computer
earned or granted.
With one computer lab up and running a second one slotted to start soon
and two other organisations requesting meetings for more info we are
getting closer to our goal of 10 labs.
Members of the Ottawa chapter of WISE may be interested in many of our
activities. One area of particular interest is to help fill a need for
woman instructors and leaders to liaise with many of the woman in the
communities we reach. To bridge the digital divide, often there are
social and cultural barriers to overcome as well as the technical and
economic barriers. For example, one organisation who was planning to
start with only a home work club is now asking about woman instructors
for various computer skills training.
Thanks for your time.