Towards the close of Summer 2011, Technology Without Borders (a committee of the Campus Y) and the Kramden Institute came together in a joint partnership with CEF to pilot a new program: the Laptop IDA.
Technology Without Borders (TWB) was founded three years ago believing in the power of technology as a force for positive social change. With its initiation, TWB joined the small but growing community of social justice organizations dedicated to bridging the digital divide.
One such organization is the Kramden Institute, which helps thousands of students across North Carolina fulfill their academic and personal potential by providing heavily discounted or free refurbished computers to these students and their families based upon recommendations from their teachers and school administrators.
In its inaugural year, TWB partnered with the Kramden Institute to place computers in the homes of 50 low-income families with students in the community of Abbey Court. TWB supported this effort by developing a free open-mesh Wi-Fi network in the community and partnering with the Human Rights Center to create and maintain computer education classes and after-school programs in the community. The network continues to function in the community and Kramden has graciously provided additional computers.
Today, TWB remains dedicated to programs and partnerships that harness technology for social justice. In collaboration with the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), the Kramden Institute, and the JobLink Skills Development Center, TWB established the Technology Empowerment for Chapel Hill (TECH) Workshops. These workshops help people save for a refurbished Kramden laptop, learn computer and job skills, earn a computer skills certification, and provide the opportunity to apply for funding to return and teach other students participating in the TECH workshops, making it a sustainable community resource.
Through these and other programs, Technology Without Borders continues to utilize technology that many take for granted to bring about social change and work alongside organizations such as CEF to forge creative solutions to today’s problems of social justice and poverty.