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MADAGASCAR: Computer Scientists Without Borders Helps Bring New Services, Technology Training to Youth

(MissionNewswire) Salesian-run programs in Bevaneviky, Madagascar are now able to offer youth new computer services and better technology training thanks to a charitable initiative created in collaboration with Computer Buffs Without Frontiers, an organization formed by professional information technology volunteers, and Monclick, one of the leading online sellers of technology products in Italy.

According to UNICEF, of Madagascar’s almost 19 million population, 70 percent live in poverty. This percentage includes 5.7 million youth between the ages of 10 and 24 years. This number is expected to double by 2025 with youth expected to continue to face huge challenges.

In Bevaneviky the Salesians run elementary, middle and high schools educating over 3,200 students. This area is particularly disadvantaged and many youth are suffering from the effects of the widespread abuse of khat, a cheap but socially devastating drug. With the creation of a computer room as a result of this new charitable initiative, the Salesians intend to offer the best technology training available, helping youth to bridge the digital gap and in turn spread information about and prevent the effects of the dangerous drug.

“Students will now have the ability to learn more about technology and benefit from its use,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Teachers will benefit by learning new skills and students will have more hands-on use of information technology.”

Driving this initiative is Computer Buffs Without Frontiers, founded in 2005, with the aim to use knowledge and computer tools to help people in poverty who are living in marginalized communities. Their goal is to close the digital divide – those with access to technology and those without. The organization believes that access to technology is an effective means of aiding social and economic development.

Monclick decided to partner with Computer Buffs Without Frontiers and donate a portion of the proceeds of their autumn sales to the Bevaneviky initiative. The proceeds provide the funding to create the computer room at the Salesian school and to train its teachers.

“In addition to its practical results this sort of collaboration with Monclick has great symbolic value,” says Girolamo Botter, president of Computer Buffs Without Frontiers. “It shows how commercial companies can make a contribution to our mission to reduce the digital divide in the most disadvantaged areas of the world without any detriment to its own commercial interests of making a profit.”

The Salesians and youth in Madagascar are happy to be recipients of the results of this collaboration.

“This is an exciting addition to the schools in Madagascar,” adds Fr. Hyde. “The impact will be far reaching. Students will be able to use technology skills in ways that will benefit their entire community. With updated technology and better communication, many families will have access to a wealth of knowledge for the first time.”



ANS – Computer studies supporting education

UNICEF – Madagascar Statistics