Technology empowers communities

Rochelle McIntyre can finally make use of the computer she has had at home for some time, after recently completing a computer literacy course at TSTT’s Morvant Community Communication Centre (CCC). The 34-year-old mother of two had gone to TSTT’s CCC to get assistance with an Internet research project one of her children had to complete for school. The CCC administrator Sparkle Charles encouraged Rochelle to enroll in the computer literacy course at the CCC so that Rochelle could help her children with other similar projects they were certain to get in the future.

Rochelle remarked: “I was glad to learn about computers and the Internet. It was very beneficial and now I can do so much more stuff with computers and the Internet for myself. It has been quite a liberating experience”.

She recalled that one of her friends migrated to Holland and always encouraged her to stay in touch via e-mail but Rochelle could not. “I didn’t even know what that was really. Now, I’m e-mailing her and chatting online,” Rochelle said.

TSTT’s Morvant CCC, like the other six centres, offers micro-office services and computer literacy courses for school children and adults. “Our aim is to give the community access to Internet and computer services at an affordable rate and to make them computer literate and we are achieving our aim,” Sparkle said.

TSTT’s CCC in Barrackpore is filling a similar type of need in the surrounding community. The CCC administrator there, Kevin Kanhai, said that students made up the bulk of the centre’s customers. “Many primary school pupils attended the computer literacy courses which we ran during the school vacation. It has helped the students a lot because they are now computer literate and do much of their online research here for themselves” he added.

Sisters Sacha and Lisa Surujbally, 15 and 16 years respectively, did the literacy course. They are students of ASJA Girls’ College in Barrackpore and said they did the computer course because they felt it would help them secure jobs – and are now eager to do an advanced course. Sacha explained: “For most jobs these days you have to know how to use a computer and if you don’t have one at home the CCC helps you get that knowledge.” The Barrackpore CCC also gives the community access to the Internet, which is often unavailable in the wider area due to regular cable theft.

Some people use the CCCs for business purposes, like Clement McPherson of Speyside, Tobago. Clement is President of the Speyside Village Council and uses the computers at the centre to run the affairs of the council. He said Unit Operator Marcia Roberts-Joseph encouraged him to establish an e-mail address. His interest having been piqued, Clement is anxious to begin a computer literacy course for adults which Marcia plans to start shortly. He believes that “like with anything else, all it takes is practice”. He said the CCC was very useful to the community, especially to the schoolchildren who used it to do research and to tourists who needed Internet access. “If it’s not open, you will see their face with a frown,” he added.