independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Charity providing affordable technology to schoolchildren

Tech savvy kids: Raymond Henry (left) and Thomas Keogh, students from Scoil Mhuire, Shankill, Dublin, using refurbished computers from Camara Ireland. Marc O'Sullivan

Second-hand laptops are in huge demand in Irish schools -- but there is not enough to go around.

Camara Ireland, an organisation that refurbishes previously-used computers for use in schools in disadvantaged areas, has a growing waiting list.

It has launched an appeal to organisations and individuals to donate their old laptops for the very good cause of giving students everywhere access to technology.

Camara wipes the computers to US Department of Defence standards, loads them with educational software, and supplies them to schools at a socially affordable price.

That price, which also includes comprehensive training, is at 25pc of the price of a new laptop

The social enterprise was set up in 2005 to send pre-used computers to Ethiopia, but after the financial crash in Ireland, demand grew in this country for affordable technology and in 2010 Camara Ireland was established

Spokesperson Frances Hayden said they had experienced a surge in demand for their educational technology packages in Ireland but had not yet sourced enough used laptops to meet the demand.

So far this year, it has supplied over 900 computers to schools, training nearly 400 educators in the process.

Pupils at Killavullen primary school, near Mallow, Co Cork, were recent recipients and principal Damien Fallon said the laptops were "perfect".

He said Camara was " really changing the world, click by click".

Camara (www.camara.org), is a West African word that means "one who teaches with experience".

It currently operates in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, Lesotho, Tanzania, Jamaica, Haiti and Ireland.

Irish Independent

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