Computer supplies pour in
Students from northern Tarn, France, are benefiting from computer equipment donated by the Rotary Club of Carmaux. Photo courtesy of André Marty
Collecting donated computer equipment for budget-strapped middle schools in and around northern Tarn, France, has become a central cause for the forward-looking Rotary Club of Carmaux, which is providing students with the tools needed to keep pace with fast-moving technology.
For years, club member Jacky Cathala, with the support of District 1700 (Andorra; France), sent donated computer supplies to underequipped Romanian schools that taught French. After media reports on the success of Cathala’s efforts, requests for equipment began to pour in from school authorities in northern Tarn. So the club launched the Better Computer Learning Conditions in Schools vocational project.
“After visiting a few schools, mostly in rural areas, I realized [their] computer technology was almost obsolete,” Cathala says. Seeing underprivileged schoolchildren at such a disadvantage motivated his club to help level the playing field.
Now Cathala and fellow club members spend hours networking with French organizations that are willing to donate old computer equipment. Rotarians also coordinate with information technology specialists to ensure the systems are working and up-to-date.
Since its launch in December 2006, the project has delivered more than 180 computers and 24 printers to 40 schools.
André Marty, 2007-08 governor of District 1700, says other clubs could easily reproduce the effort, which could enhance Rotary’s image. “Operations of this type allow clubs to get involved for the first time in underprivileged populations, where Rotary may not be known,” he explains.
Contributing to the project’s success are its dramatic, tangible results. “Computers are now a vital educational tool. The acquisition of this new skill will be essential once the students graduate,” says Bruno Delvallée, primary school inspector for the French Ministry of Education. “Because of Rotary, students now have the opportunity to excel in school.” This article appeared in the October issue of Rotary World .