Last week, the Jacques Parenting Association celebrated the opening of its Computer Lab and Internet Cafe. This was the culmination of many months of hard work, including a day of service last year during which the Canadian Navy visited Kingston for the day and helped to refurbish a container so it could be wired for Internet and computers installed. This was accomplished with the help of Canadian High Commissioner Robert Ready and his wife Joanne.
The Computer Centre also received funds from a government program called the Universal Service Fund, which to date has equipped 169 centres across the island in the aim of increasing access to information technology. Check out the official government story here.
As Member of Parliament Julian Robinson, who is Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining stated:
“The lab provides a great opportunity for those persons who otherwise would not have access to a computer, either at home or school, to come here; for children to do their homework, for adults to do their research,” he said.
He said persons can use the technology to find ways to empower themselves, noting that there are many applications on the Internet that persons can use to work online.
“Persons who may be sitting here during the days, can’t find a job, a little frustrated, there are opportunities here and one of the things I am committed to as Member of Parliament, is to provide the training for those persons so that they are aware of the opportunities and they can take advantage of it,” he said.
I like how High Commissioner Ready put it best, that this is a “real, tangible result” that will help poor and marginalized residents gain access to the Internet, a venue that will help propel them forward as they seek education and work.
I visited the computer centre a couple of months ago and it was indeed in use by Jacques Road residents. Many of them do not have a computer at home let alone the resources to pay for Internet access, so such a centre is a lifeline to employment, health care, government services and research needs for students.
Congratulations to Jacques Road Parenting Association, especially Miss Francena Pryce and Miss Ann Marie Lynch!