With the Covid-19 pandemic still afflicting large parts of Mexico, most schools and universities are starting the new academic year with online learning in lieu of face-to-face classes.
While the transition to virtual learning is not a problem for some, for students without their own computer and without the means to acquire one the online shift has left them in a difficult situation.
Enter an initiative called “Laptops Con Causa” or “Laptops With A Cause,” which seeks to distribute donated computers to students who don’t have one.
The brainchild of Mexico City university student Montserrat Rodríguez, the scheme has begun delivering computers to school students and undergraduates in the capital and has aspirations to expand to other parts of the country.
Rodríguez told the newspaper Milenio that the aim is to prevent students dropping out of high school or university.
“We’re university students and we know that there is tremendous social inequality in our country [with regard to] education,” she said.
The shift to online learning precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic has only widened the gap, Rodríguez said, adding “for that reason we decided to take action on the matter.”
She said that she and six other students involved in the project were surprised at the response they received after launching on August 13: 4,700 young people have applied for computers and 300 people have donated laptop, desktop and tablet computers.
Rodríguez said that donations of all kinds of computers are accepted provided that they have a relatively recent operating system and come with a charger. Details about how to donate a computer can be found on the Laptops Con Causa Facebook page (Spanish only).
Applicants must prove that they are currently enrolled at a high school or university by providing a copy of a valid student ID.
Among the beneficiaries to date are students in the Mexico City boroughs of Gustavo A. Madero, Tláhuac, Coyoacán and Azcapotzalco.
The initiative has given rise to at least two other projects that seek to distribute computers to students in need, one in México state and another in the Comarca Lagunera region of Coahuila and Durango.
Source: Milenio (sp)