500,000th student to become digitally literate

Today, Irish charity and social enterprise, Camara Education gave the 500,000th child digital literacy as a result of its work to improve education and livelihood skills in disadvantaged communities around the world through the reuse of technology.

A significant milestone in the charity’s history, the 500,000th student to become digitally literate was Saum Salim from the Holy Tree Academy in Mombasa, Kenya. Saum, who wants to be a pilot when she grows up is just one example of many students who desire to have access to ICT and hence access to knowledge which will improve their education and livelihood skills. Commenting on the difference that having this essential 21st century skill will make to his daughter’s future education, Saum’s father, Salim Mangale Bakari said, ‘she will be able to add more knowledge and whatever she doesn’t know she will get it from the computer. And it is easy for her to make the revision, if the syllabus she forgets, she goes to the computer, opens the computer and get the revision that was being taught two weeks back’.

Saum’s school, the Holytree Academy in Mombasa, Kenya, partnered with Camara to avail of its educational model and to gain access to ICT hardware, educational software and ICT teacher training. Head teacher and Founder of the Holy Tree Academy, Beatrice Mchalongo, commented ‘Learning has improved so much. The kids are getting learning materials from the computers, especially in Wikipedia’. On partnering with Camara, she said, ‘It has been a great benefit to us because when we were trained, we came and passed the knowledge to the rest of the teachers’.

Since 2005, over 35,000 computers have been sent to over 1,650 schools in Africa, Jamaica and Ireland, which has to date benefited over 500,000 children who are now digitally literate. Amid Kenya’s digital boom, which has seen the number of internet users increasing to 26% from 10% in the previous year, the demand for Camara’s educational package has increased dramatically here and in other African countries.The importance of access to, and the capability to use, modern information technology in the 21st century has never been more prevalent. Camara relies on individuals and  organisations donating their old equipment, to ensure the next generation have that essential 21st century skill of digital literacy.

The charity is asking both individuals and companies to please consider the most socially and environmentally viable option of reuse when disposing of old IT equipment. Anyone with used desktops, laptops, monitors, keyboards and power leads can donate them to Camara for reuse in education. Camara securely wipes all data on all machines to comply with US DoD standard 5220.22m – an internationally recognised standard.