19th May: I began teaching the ladies in Sr. Naza’s workshop some basic computer skills today. I began with teaching them the basics of touch typing, as it was the easiest thing to do with not all the computers available being uploaded with the educational software we had received from Camara, an international charity that supplies old reconfigured computers to people throughout the world who otherwise wouldn’t have access to such technology.
The 6 ladies who came along showed great enthusiasm and a real interest in learning how to use the computers. Some I would say have had a little bit of experience but others haven’t. And in my very limited Creole, I got the impression from them that none of them was used to the Internet.
I believe once they get a grip on how to use these machines and see the potential for their own development through using them and with access to the Internet, their lives and those of their children will make steady progress. I certainly hope so!
They live in such a remote place here in Jean Rabel. Hopefully access to the Internet will be able to offer them a means they currently don’t have to make a living or augment their current income, which is very minimal.
These women deserve a chance to have access to opportunities currently afforded to us in the western world. One of the main things that restrict them at the moment is the lack of and cost of transportation infrastructure.
Currently, these ladies have no way to get their produce further afield than their local area – and they make beautiful hand-made goods and crafts in the workshop – the road system is really non-existent, taking at least a few hours to get to any of the nearest towns and 6 to 10 hours to the capital of Port-au-Prince, so exporting their wares is completely out of their reach.
But if they can progress in the area of computer office applications, perhaps there will be a way into the future where they can work from home or a designated area in Jean Rabel, for clients outside of the country. This would mean they could enjoy the good aspects of their local lifestyle and earn a decent income for themselves and their families.
This is the hope of the project here in Jean Rabel, that opportunities will increase and a better way of life will emerge for the youth of the area, where up to 50% of the population is under 16 years of age.