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Mobile Computer Lab Helps Thousands in Nairobi Slum


Kawangware is one of the fastest-growing slums in Nairobi, Kenya. It is also the poorest. Most of the 300,000 people who live there try to survive on less than $1 a day.

But one non-profit group is working to give Kenya’s poorest citizens access to technology. The Craft Silicon Foundation provides people who live in Kawangware a computer lab and computer training on a mobile bus. The bus has 12 computers powered by the sun through solar panels.

Allan Mideva is one of the students learning basic computer skills. The mobile computer lab is an opportunity he normally could not afford. His mother earns about $2 a day washing clothes.

Allan Mideva says he had to make only a one-time payment of $2.20 to show he was serious about studying. He adds that the mobile computer lab enables students to have computer skills.

The Craft Silicon Foundation began offering free information and communication technology classes to poor young people in 2009.

The training takes 10 weeks. If students pass a test at the end of the training, they receive certificates of graduation. So far, the mobile computer lab has helped about 7,000 students.

Craft Silicon has offices in Kenya, Tanzania, India and the United States. Kamal Budhabhatti is the chief executive officer of the company. He says the Craft Silicon Foundation promotes computer literacy as part of its responsibility to society.

“Education is still a luxury at some of these slums, so we believe that as much as it is so important, we must go to slum areas where they cannot afford to get technological education.”

The government of Kenya also plans to increase Internet literacy and access to information. Government officials want to provide free Internet access to all the slums in Nairobi.

For now, the students from Kawangware look forward to completing their computer training and working to better their futures.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Lenny Ruvaga reported this story from Nairobi. Jonathan Evans wrote it for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

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Words in this Story

certificate – n. a document that is official proof you have finished school or a course of training

literacy – n. knowledge that relates to a specified subject

slum – n. an area of a city where poor people live and the buildings are in bad condition

solar paneln. a large, flat piece of equipment that uses the sun's light or heat to create electricity

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