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Craig Newmark

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There's room in Cyberspace for us all

Posted: 11/16/11 02:42 PM ET

Hey folks, I recently donated some web gear to The Women's Building in San Francisco to help out with their free computer lab. Not everyone has the means to use technology, and I think that it's important that it's as accessible as possible. Here's what Tatjana, Development Director of The Women's Building, had to say about it:

There's room in Cyberspace for us all

Even the US government thinks it's important that ALL Americans, regardless of class, should have computer and internet access ("FCC plans cheap Internet service and computers to connect poor Americans").

At The Women's Building, our free community computer lab has been open for years. Most of our visitors are low-income, and sometimes homeless. Every day people, mostly women, come in to use the computers; often to search for jobs and other community resources, as well as for entertainment and to connect with others... pretty much what everyone seems to use computers for.

We have learned that ACCESS to computers isn't the only barrier: Some of the women who come in don't even know HOW to use a computer. The Women's Building helps these people by offering free computer classes and one-on-one assistance; i.e. how to use a mouse, how to set up an email account, and how to surf the web. In today's world, even house-cleaning, baby-sitting, and kitchen staff jobs are posted online and people have to contact employers through email.

We realize that numerous women who use our computer lab may have many different issues that they are grappling with, so we also offer information and resources on issues like domestic violence, legal and housing, and just sympathetic support so that the women don't get discouraged.

We are grateful for Craig's vision that cyberspace is for everyone. Recently, he helped us make some great updates and now our computer lab is an even better place for the community. We were able to get:
• Three new computers
• Two web cameras
• A projector and screen for our computer classes
• Faster internet speed from 3.2 MBps to 14-15 MBps (Yay!)
• An upgrade of all computers to Windows 7/Office 10
• Head-phones with microphones

Once the lab was updated, one of our computer users told me, "The new computers are great and I've really noticed the faster internet connection. I like coming to this lab and I can keep in touch with people and even meet new people around the world. Thank you for what you do here. It's helped me so much."

For more info about The Women's Building, visit us at: www.womensbuilding.org.
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