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Computers in Homes connects Far North families

Media release
18th April 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Computers in Homes connects Far North families

With around 100,000 more waiting.

Local families have graduated from the national Computers in Homes programme, providing them with computers and the internet along with training, skills and support through their local school – technology and training that’ll impact on the wider community.

Seventeen families with children at Herekino School have been involved locally and will celebrate their graduation in a ceremony held at the Far North REAP tonight. A further 33 families from 3 other schools and local Marae will be participating over the coming months.

The programme, which has proven success across the country, brings computer technology within reach of all New Zealand families with school aged children and allows parents and grandparents to connect with their children’s learning.

Computers in Homes estimates that more than 100,000 New Zealand families with school-aged children in low income communities still don’t have a computer at home. The organisation is in the Far North today to both celebrate local achievements and launch a national drive to encourage Government and business to support the programme.

“Today is significant as we celebrate what we’ve achieved in areas such as the Far North but also look to the future. We hope our new direction will alert Government and business so the programme gets the funding it needs to connect the other 100,000 families in New Zealand without a computer and the internet,” said Computers in Homes’ National Coordinator, Di Das.

According to Ms Das the Statistics New Zealand 2006 Census results reinforced the need for funding and support to establish and develop Computers in Homes into a national programme and policy.

“47% of households with school-aged children are without the internet in the Far North District according to Census. This is compared to the North Shore District, which has only 13% of households without internet access,” said Ms Das.

“Far North is a priority region as the District ranks 69th for internet access out of 73 districts in New Zealand. Computers in Homes has provided some of these Far North families with access to information and knowledge but there are many more here and across the country waiting to be included,” she continued.

The programme started in 2000 and has already provided more than 4,000 New Zealand families with recycled computers, six months of free internet access, computer training and technical support, via their local schools.

Parents receive 20 hours of basic computer training including word processing, emailing and using the internet, conducted at their children’s school.

The training is aimed at empowering parents to become actively involved in their children’s learning, as well as increasing their own employment opportunities and confidence. Results from the programme have included employment success and continued education. Ms Das said the programme had also seen a number of parents actively engaging with their school for the first time.

“We receive numerous emails of thanks from participants in the programme. It opens up a whole new world of opportunity,” Ms Das said.

Computers in Homes is an initiative of the 2020 Communications Trust with support from the Ministry of Education and the Government’s Digital Strategy Community Partnership Fund. The 2020 Trust is looking for funding and support to expand Computers in Homes to all low income communities where children do not have access to computers and the Internet in their homes.

For more information visit www.computersinhomes.org.nz

ENDS

*Source: Statistics New Zealand 2006 Census

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