Irish Computers In Demand for Digital Literacy
Mombasa’s streets were filled with the sound of children and adults chanting when students and teachers from Mbheni Girls Primary School, together with local dignitaries took to the streets recently to take part in a ‘Walk for Information Technology – Walk for Knowledge & Power’ to raise funds for the school’s eLearning Centre being provided by Irish charity and social enterprise, Camara Education.
‘Watoto mwataka nini?’ ‘Twataka Komputa!’ or ‘’Kids, what do you want? We want computers!’ was the slogan being chanted and heard by thousands, as over 400 students from Mbheni Girls School along with students from the neighbouring Bondeni Girls School demonstrated their desire to have access to ICT and hence, access to knowledge which will improve their education and livelihood skills. It also highlighted the lengths they and other schools in Africa are willing to go to raise the funds necessary to realise their dreams. As the children marched, they held up banners with slogans that read, ‘Computer knowledge is power’, signifying the importance of access to, and the capability to use, modern information technology in the 21st century.
Head-teacher Madam Abud Nuru Ali, who was the driving force behind the walk said, ‘ICT is the future and we don’t want to be left behind’. A statement never more true given the digital boom that Kenya is currently experiencing with the number of internet users increasing to 26% in 2010 from 10% in the previous year. Mbheni are trying to raise funds for the setup of an eLearning Centre with 25 Camara computers and teacher training.
Farid Ali, Camara’s Technical Director in Kenya commented, ‘the energy and enthusiasm was intoxicating and everyone had a wonderful morning. Personally I am amazed at the lengths schools will go to to start computer classes at their schools and how proactive they can be to arrive at their goals. It is nothing short of inspiring and a lesson to all schools who are struggling to get started with IT’.
Camara’s CEO, John Fitzsimons, commented, ‘This is wonderful example of the demand that exists among schools in Africa for ICT and the effort that schools are prepared to make to provide students with the essential 21st century skill of digital literacy. Teachers in Africa find having the capability to effectively use ICT as a priority in today’s world’.
Camara are encouraging people to support schools like Mbheni in their efforts to become digitally literate and sponsor a child’s computer to be sent to a school in Africa in the name of your family and friends this Christmas. For more information, log onto www.camara.org