Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TELECOMS company Digicel will soon start selling hundreds of refurbished computers to educational institutions at less than half the price of a new unit, through its newly formed Camara Foundation.

Digicel Foundation chair and board director of Camara, Lisa Lewis said starting this September the newly established foundation is hoping to put these computers in some 50 educational institutions islandwide yearly, while teaching scores of students and inner-city residents how to refurbish the units.

According to Lewis, this social entrepreneurship project, will introduce technology to the education sector in a meaningful way.

“It is not just about exposing you to a computer but what are you using that computer to do, so it has to be for an educational objective,” Lewis said as she addressed editors and reporters at the Observer’s weekly Monday Exchange held at the newspaper’s head offices in Kingston.

“The second part of that is to use the facility to teach people how to refurbish and maintain computers so we are focusing on our inner-city communities hence why we are launching and starting our programme in Penwood High School (in Waterhouse),” she explained.

Explaining how this will work, Lewis said the students currently enrolled in the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) programme will be the initial volunteers who will be trained to refurbished the computers before the foundation moves to training community members.

She said the computers will be sold for just what is needed to cover the cost for more computers to be brought into the island and to facilitate the training of more persons to refurbish them.

With the foundation expecting to pump some US$100,000 per year into the programme, Lewis said they were motivated to establish this organisation as it aligns with the sister Digicel Foundation’s goal to improve literacy across Jamaica.

Lewis explained further that the other component to the programme will be the training offered to the users, hence the reason why computers will not be sold to individuals.

“When we sell you a bulk of computers it is not just the computers we are selling.

“Along with that comes a warranty and training as we will be training teachers to use this technology to improve the educational standards, presumably literacy,” she said.

She said the first 600 computers to be refurbished have already arrived in the island from Ireland.

The foundation is hoping to get the rest of the equipment from the United States.

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