I’m a strong believer that technology can be a way up for those in financially disadvantaged circumstances: without some computer skills, kids can’t compete in school, and don’t meet the minimum requirements for many jobs. One way that I can help – and probably many of you reading this – is to donate to programs that provide access to computers and training to people who can’t afford to buy them. There are a number of ways to do this: you can give money, you can give used computer equipment, you can give your time, and you can promote the programs to others who might do the same.
This week, I replaced my mother’s old computer, and was left with a working (although underpowered, by today’s standards) computer with keyboard and mouse. I immediately thought of Little Geeks, a program that refurbishes old computers, provides them for free to kids in need, along with 12 months of internet access and some training on how to use it. They use reBOOT Canada as their drop-off depot; reBOOT is a charitable organization that “provides computer hardware, training and technical service to other charities, non-profit organizations and individuals with limited access to technology”. I headed off to reBOOT yesterday to drop off the computer, and had a chat with Nicholas (I believe this was Nicholas Brinckman, the Executive Director). He mentioned that they’re trying to get funding from the Aviva Community Fund to build 50 learning centres across Canada, in partnership with community centres and schools.
If you support this idea, go to the reBOOT project page on the Aviva Community Fund site and vote for their project (registration required). You can vote once per day until this round of voting ends in 11 days, and I encourage you to drop in there daily to cast your vote if you believe that this is an important initiative. They make it easy to link to the page on Twitter and Facebook, so use your social network for good. You can also help out by dropping off your old computer equipment – and encouraging your employer to do the same when they sunset old computers, printers and other equipment – or volunteering some of your time to help with computer refurbishment.