Free and Easy Community Online- with newest ICT hub!
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, August 31, 2017
The small community of Free and Easy, West Bank Demerara, Region Three, an hour’s drive from Georgetown, yesterday commissioned their first Information Communication Technology (ICT) Hub.
Delight and expectation were reflected on the faces of the residents and children of the community as they entered the hub. Several adults chose to access the internet to call families overseas, while the children were engaged in games, with some even wondering what the computers could actually do.
Alex Nurse, a resident of the community in a brief overview on the establishment of the hub, said the community had been financially supportive. He explained that fund raising activities were held to have the building wired and secured, cubicles built among other amenities.
An emotional Nurse explained the benefits the hub will bring to the community, noting particularly in the area of Education, the community will gain enormously. He recounted his personal experience as a University of Guyana (UG) student, when many nights found him staying long hours at the home of family members, near internet cafés so that his projects could be completed for timely submission. He proudly remarked “that will not be the case anymore.”
Nurse added that the community will also benefit economically, as residents will be able to advertise their businesses online. Nurse added that the ICT Hub will aid in keeping school drop outs off the streets and engaged in more productive activities.
Head of the Management Team for the ICT Hub, Felicia Williams said she was certain of her participation in the project,
after persons from the e-Government Unit visited the community to assess the potential for establishment of a hub. Realising the hub’s potential for development of her community, she became involved in the process and was later asked to be the chairperson for the team of eight.
Williams pointed out that she encountered many challenges “I count those as losses because I feel proud of having 18 computers with eight volunteers and my community is developing, so for that I am happy”.
She said that the hub will be opened from 8:00 hours in the morning for adults and from 15:00hrs when school is dismissed; school children will have priority. She added that the level of usage of the hu, will determine the number of volunteers who will be available.
The Department of Public Information (DPI) spoke with some of the residents and children who were entering the ICT hub and accessing the internet.
Trevaline Seeram, “I am very proud and happy for this venture for the community. There are adults in the community that is knowledgeable on the usage of the internet, so the Wi-Fi aspect of the hub will be beneficial to us, also we have some school drop outs in the community and with the hub they will be able to use some of their free time in a positive way.”
Rachael Joseph, “I am seven years old and I like coming to the net because I get to watch cartoons and do my school work”.
Rebecca, “I am seven years old, I like coming here because I get to see cartoons, Bugs Bunny and do my school work.”
Claston Thomas, ” Oh wow this is wonderful, I am so happy… To be honest when I heard of this hub I thought it was just talk but to see how fast the community put this together I am so proud. And for me I will be able to advertise my business online, and very soon I will be giving more cubicles and benches to the hub.”
Kevin Smith, “A good initiative for our community and normally I do research because I go to UG and this will aid me and I won’t be out of my home very late. Additionally, I do farming and I will be able to research new farming techniques”.
According to chairman of the National Data Management Authority (NDMA), Floyd Levi, President David Granger and the Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes view this venture as their responsibility to the citizens of the nation.
He added that the mandate of the government is to move Guyana into the digital age, even though communities are faced with difficulties, the government and the Ministry of Public Telecommunications will aid in developing the communities.
Levi told the residents that government services can be accessed online and more will be made available in the future. He urged the management committee to ensure the hub is available to all including visitors to the community.
The NDMA team also distributed school supplies to children of the community.
By: Gabreila Patram