This project aims at bridging the digital gap. Our intention is to reach out to underserved groups of population in such a way that on top of gaining access to Informarion and Communication Technology (ICT), they become able to use them proficiently. With this purpose in mind, we intend to seek out a very specific population group: children around the age of eleven, living in underserved communities (while expecting their whole social nucleus to benefit from the project, through them). In order for our initiative to have meaningful impact, we believe it is necessary that two things happen: 1) that those who benefit from the project develop abilities which allow them to transcend the digital content consumer/user paradigm; and 2) that participants in the project get to keep the computer they've been working on, in recognition of their involvement with the project.
We consider that teaching the participants to utilize a computer's potential is part of our core purpose. Therefore, we aren't aiming at training them in the use of specific software, as nothing more than operators (this is the user paradigm which we've just discussed): instead we're looking to develop in them the sensitivity needed for a more comprehensive use of the computer. It is for this reason that our proposal is to teach the participants to become creators (or at least collaborators in the creative process) of text, images and sound, thus placing them within reach of the world of programming. Besides, their training will allow them to share the results of their work on web pages and social networks developed specifically to allow project participants living away from each other to interact. Lastly, we've included a workshop on robotics aimed at sensitizing project beneficiaries to the new possibilities linked with the development of hardware.
On the other hand, in order for the project to have the desired impact, it's not enough to provide the participants with tools to utilize a computer's potential. Since the digital gap is fundamentally an economic problem (although there's also a relevant cultural factor), owning a computer is very likely beyond their families' means and priorities, and still it is necessary that they have one. Our answer to this is to provide each child participating in our workshops with a Classmate laptop computer, given in lease for the duration of the course, and in permanent ownership upon conclusion. This makes it possible for them to apply their newly acquired abilities in everyday situations, generating a meaningful social impact.
In this manner, we make it possible for children from underserved communities (and indirectly, those in close association with them) to be in a position to transcend the digital barrier. Our project goes beyond providing them with access to the opportunities for information, communication and services available through ICT. In order for this effort to have a meaningful social impact, we know it is necessary that project beneficiaries are given the necessary resources to actively insert themselves into the information network. In this way, and besides gaining a new wealth of resources, they will become actors in the environment of cutting edge communications.