"There’s probably reams of soul-crushing statistics on why it wouldn’t do any good in the long run, but I’m sick of charities telling me that by not giving them £10 a month I’m indirectly clubbing poor children to death with dolphins. Show me something positive for once and just maybe I’ll open my wallet and break my long-held embargo on sending perfectly good cash to people I don’t trust to scratch a moral itch I don’t have." ~Stuart TurtonIn recent weeks, I have seen quite a bit about efforts on the part of charitable organizations to provide technology to developing nations. I first became aware of this when I read about how organizations such as CARE (Collect and Recycle Ecologically)-Computers for Developing Countries attempt to make a difference in the lives of children through increased access to computers. The 2-fold mission of the UK-based CARE is definitely interesting. Utilizing used computers donated by businesses, schools and other such institutions, CARE to both assist in educating of less privileged secondary school students while also addressing the environmental issues of disposing computer waste. "Cool," I said to myself...and then didn't give it much more thought.
This bit of techno-charity emerged from all the other pieces of info cluttering my brain today when I read Stuart Turtan's blog Don't send the developing world PCs: Send them Kindles. In this entertaining mini-travel memoir about Turtan's experience in Central India with his Kindle, he writes, "So I’m waiting in this village for my lift to arrive, reading my Kindle to pass the time, and all of a sudden I look up to discover about 20 kids stood in a big group, just watching me: big eyes, curious expressions, ridiculously cute and all intent on the Kindle...So I sat down on the kerb and showed them. Their reaction is the point of technology. It’s what every device maker should aim for, and what every owner wants to inspire in others. Their wonder reminded me just how much I loved it, and why. Just turning the page caused them to drag their friends over, and there’s no reality where changing the font size of your book should make you cooler than a Jimmy Hendrix guitar solo...Debating the implications of eBook readers on education is an entire blog in itself, but I think a charity could do a lot worse than to load a few up with dictionaries, school books and novels and send them to some remote schools in developing nations."
At the same time, we also have smartphone manufacturers such as China Mobile who are looking to expand smartphone capabilities to the more rural, underdeveloped areas, hoping to extend service to those who normally wouldn't be able to own a cell phone.... (Smartphone manufacturers hope to expand in developing countries)
All very interesting endeavors...and of course being both a bibliophile & a "Kindlophile," I'm particularly partial to Turtan's ideas. However, I do still wonder how techno-charity could provide the greatest benefit...PCs? Kindles? Smartphones? Or all of the above?