Samen voor Eindhoven (Together for Eindhoven) has donated 150 laptops to social institutions throughout Eindhoven.
Samen voor Eindhoven received the laptops from the charity Allemaal Digitaal (Everyone Digital). Both organisations believe that digital connectivity is a basic need in today’s world. Allemaal Digitaal collects unwanted laptops and tablets and distributes them amongst people who need them most.
For example, Samen voor Eindhoven gave fifteen laptops to De Huiskamer, a community centre for refugees in Eindhoven. Esther Hofstede is Samen voor Eindhoven’s director. She explains that the community centre gives ‘Dutch language lessons to around forty refugees, some of whom are homeless’. They can now use a laptop to access materials and resources to help improve their Dutch skills.
When they no longer need the laptop, they can return it again, ready for another person in need to use it.
‘We mostly loan the laptops to people who are struggling,’ says Hofstede. This includes ‘children who need a laptop for school, newcomers who want to learn Dutch, or people who experience loneliness and isolation’.
However, Samen voor Eindhoven’s initiative only scratches the surface. A survey by Samen voor Eindhoven and Eindhoven Library found that the need for basic digital equipment is significant, and that around a thousand laptops are needed to meet it.
Despite Eindhoven’s ‘Brainport’ title and status as a major global technological hub, almost ten per cent of school children do not have access to a computer. Albert Kivits, director of Eindhoven Library, says this prevents them from developing important digital skills. They can therefore ‘lag behind’ their classmates.
Translation: Rachael Vickerman