My Fantasy Charity: One Laptop Per Mom
If I could fund any fantasy charity it would be called something like "One Laptop Per Mom (and others)". Beyond the current "One Laptop Per Child" programs, I would like to target Moms, Dads, Teachers, Community Organizers (per Sheila BD) and even animal shelters (as Jill C. reminded me) IN NEED! While big local Silicon Valley companies like Cisco, Google, HP, Intel and many others understand the impact of donating technology, I would like to start on a smaller scale and enable those in charge of taking care/educating of others with at least one (Wi-Fi enabled) laptop. With a Wi-Fi enabled laptop even those without internet access in their house can utilize free Wi-Fi hot spots.
With the financial crisis there is even more of a need for those looking for jobs to have access to the internet for job websites, education, career social networking or starting a business online. Beyond sharing a public or family computer, a laptop will allow the user access on demand to solve many needs:
- Those not able to afford subscriptions to industry, news or recreation publications can access a wealth of information online for free. To save time, RSS feeds can be set up on email home pages to view many sites at once. Online forums are available for all different types of needs.
- Email has always been free but storage has increased. Email addresses are also often the most stable address people have.
- Open Source programs provide free alternatives for those that can't afford to purchase software.
- Sharing information is easier when you have easy access to the internet, one email to a social network or email list/group can contact a large group of recipients.
- Setting up an online professional identify through social networks, blogs or websites make it easier to be found by employers or those looking for freelancers. LinkedIn is one of the top sites for professional networking while other sites offer job listings or even ideas for working at home.
- Those with some knowledge on programming, graphics or goods to sell can use a laptop to start an online business.
- Home, personal and family management (with online calenders) can be done online. Many families, especially military families, are away from each other for long spans of time. A laptop can enable family communication with (free) online programs such as Skype and Google/Yahoo chat.
- A wealth of educational information (including books) for adults and children are available online.