Mobilizing volunteers to load refurbished computers with educational content that allows impoverished youth in developing countries to connect to the Internet's world of opportunities.
World Computer Exchange worked for more than a year with U.S Peace Corps Volunteers and schools in Madagascar planning for a shipment of computers. Meanwhile, our Baltimore/Washington DC Chapter prepared the computers to ship to Madagascar with the help of students and staff of the University of Maryland/Baltimore Country Training Center. "This was a very rewarding project," said Bill Schneider, one of the UMBCTC volunteers. "Our folks have been working for months to refurbish these computers and send them on their way."The computers went to northern Madagascar to the University Antsiranana, where about 130 of the computers will remain.The other 235 computers went to 28 schools in villages in the area where the Peace Corps volunteers are stationed. "Many Malagasy students have never had access to computers," said Sheona Sauna, one of the leaders of the Peace Corps team. "Even the most motivated students are excluded from participating in the global community." Like other WCE projects, the UMBCTC shipment takes a small step toward correcting that imbalance and improving their future."Every computer provided by WCE arrived with a pre-installed content package in French complete with educational software," Sheona said, "and at least two-thirds of the communities hope to be able to offer Internet access on their computers within the next 2 years."The new affiliation with UMBC allows WCE to ramp up its activities and serve even more people. "We?re grateful that UMBC appreciates the work that we do.", said Tom Graham, who coordinates the group.