1,308 children and youth from 10 centres across El Salvador
Estimated completion date: March 2019
Lying awake, Miguel* hears the low drawl of a dump truck-his cue to get up and head to school. It’s only 6 a.m., but Miguel knows that arriving early to school is his only chance to access a computer so he can finish his homework. If he’s lucky, the custodian might let him in. Using the computer after school is not an option. The lineups are long; once, he waited four hours before finally giving up and making the trek home in the dark.
Miguel’s parents have both already left-his dad for work at the factory in the neighbouring town, and his mom to begin a long day of working in the fields. Already thirteen, Miguel knows that if he wants a life different from his parents, he’ll have to learn computer skills and do well in school. But what choice does he have? His parents are doing the best they can, but there is simply no money for a computer, let alone the Internet.
Miguel is not alone in his struggle. For every 200 students in the country’s public education system, there is only one computer. Of those schools with a computer, only five out of 100 have Internet access. El Salvador’s weak economy means there is little money for technology education for the next generation. But not having basic computer skills means that Miguel and most of his peers will not have the skills needed to pursue well-paying jobs or further education. Most will end up finding whatever work they can to help support their families, continuing the cycle of poverty.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can help children in ten Compassion centres across El Salvador develop basic computer skills and abilities through computer labs and computer training. Modern companies need qualified personnel, especially in technology, as well as specialized technicians. With access to computers, the Internet and computer training, young people will have the skills they need to break the cycle of poverty.
*Miguel’s story is a composite, typical of a child in rural El Salvador.
Give the gift of computer training so children and youth can provide for themselves and their families.
Help children in El Salvador develop basic computer skills.
Summary: This initiative will equip 10 Compassion centres across El Salvador with computer labs. Children and youth aged six to 17 will learn valuable computer and technology skills so they can earn well-paying jobs in the future and be economically self-supporting.
- Child development centres impacted: ES0017, ES0022, ES0028, ES0905, ES0967, ES0972, ES0981, ES0983, ES0984 and ES0999
- The problem: El Salvador ranks number 81 out of 140 nations in their level of development of Information Technologies. Reports show that only 20 per cent of the population have personal computers and only 38.3 per cent of the population have Internet access. Because of El Salvador’s poor economy, youth have little opportunity to acquire technology training at their schools and even less in private instruction. With all areas of industry requiring some basic knowledge of computer technology, most of the children Compassion supports simply will not have the skills to find gainful employment.
- What is provided through this gift:
- Computer equipment and installation at 10 Compassion centres
- Appropriate rooms for the computer labs, secured with doors, protected windows and air conditioning
- Age-appropriate computer training by a qualified professional, four hours per week, three months per module, on the basics of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel (covered by normal centre support)
- Regular testing and evaluation of the students
- Local contribution: US$16,000
- Monitoring: Attendance at the computer lab training sessions will be monitored, and children will be tested monthly on their skills.
- Handling of funds: A committee made up of pastors, centre directors and church leaders will evaluate costs and review quotes from computer suppliers. Payment will be made to the selected supplier once the computers have been installed in the Compassion centres. Local church partners will be responsible for hiring qualified computer trainers, which will be paid through normal centre support.
- Follow-up: Local church partners will be responsible for electricity, phone and Internet charges. They will also cover maintenance and ongoing operating costs of the computer labs, ensuring these resources are available for more children in the future.