Announcing PCs4Kids: Phuket’s new initiative to unlock the potential of the gifted poor

PHUKET: The organizers of a new technology-based initiative note that many children continue to grow up in Phuket without acquiring even the most basic computer skills, often because their parents cannot afford to buy them a PC or send them to places that can make one available without charge.

This seriously deprives many intellectually gifted youngsters of an opportunity to realize their potential, the organizers say.

At the other end of the spectrum, the relentless pace of innovative computer marketing means that the more affluent segments of society are constantly discarding computers in favour of upgraded, higher-spec models. And much of the discarded hardware, left to gather dust, is still serviceable with, or even without, repairs.

PCs4Kids seeks to exploit the gap in these two circumstances in an imaginative enterprise. The people involved will collect the unwanted computers, parts and accessories; re-furbish them where necessary; and donate them to deserving children. Each child selected will have a mentor – a computer professional who will guide the student through the learning process.

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For the time being, ‘PCs4Kids’ is a tentative title for the initiative, but regardless of the project’s final name its work and mission will remain the same.

The technical expertise will be supplied by Woody Leonhard, long serving Phuket Gazette columnist and the island’s favorite guru for all digital technologies, products and services; and Dr Rattana Wetprasit, Associate Dean for Special Affairs at the Faculty of Technology and Environment, Prince of Songkhla University.

Dr Rattana has been at the heart of Phuket’s software development since its inception and now heads the Phuket ICT Skills Development and Training Center, a group which already works with children in this field.

The ‘Phuket Has Been Good to Us’ Foundation will be approached to liaise with local schools and identify children who have the natural aptitude to benefit from the project.

PCs4Kids will ask the Rotary Club of Patong Beach for assistance with some funding, though not much is likely to be needed. For example, it is estimated that $1,000 would be sufficient to re-build something close to a dozen computers.

Microsoft Thailand will be asked to donate software.

The Phuket Gazette and AWPR & Marketing will sponsor the initiative with media and promotional support.

Readers interested in helping PCs4Kids in any way should contact Ross James: rosspjames@hotmail.com or 087-418 3127.

Phuket News

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