Lee Hales, a Warwick second year computer systems student, has spent his Easter vacation helping the people of Bo, a town in Sierra Leone, make the most of donated computer equipment.
Working with the charity One World Link, Lee initially got involved in the project by volunteering to make sure that donated computers were in good working order here in the UK. He was then offered the chance to travel out to Africa to help the local One World Link group set up and familiarise themselves with the equipment.
Lee said, "This was my first visit to Africa or anywhere like Sierra Leone, so I was a bit apprehensive. It turned out to be a fantastic experience, and I achieved all that I set out to do and more. The support and hospitality I received from the people of Bo and from Bo One World Link was second to none."
Lee spent three weeks in Sierra Leone and was involved in a variety of tasks, including installing software and teaching people how to use word processors and spreadsheets. The scheme provided computers for a community training centre, three secondary schools, and for the staff of Bo Town Council. Lee was impressed by the speed and eagerness with which people learned about the technical side of computing. "All the people were so friendly and generous and keen to learn about computing," he said.
Mr Joe Kobbah, the Chair of Bo One World Link praised Lee's work. "Frankly speaking, he has been able to do so much and so well within so short a time - training, installing computers, doing repairs. It is just fantastic! This is a real practical demonstration of friendship, and we are all grateful," he said.
Sierra Leone in West Africa has a population of 4.5 million and is a beautiful country with abundant mineral and agricultural natural resources but years of civil war and bad governance have resulted in it being one of the worlds poorest countries. Bo, is inland and south east of the capital Freetown on the west coast and is a major town and administrative centre. It is hoped that the donated computers will help the people of Bo learn new skills that will attract work and help them rebuild their town's economy.
One World Link is a charity that stands for friendship between communities in this country and communities in Africa, Asia or Central and South America. For more information contact John Myers, Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The charity is currently looking for people to donate unwanted CD's from magazines that have free software. A collection box has been places at Union North reception. For more information on how to get involved contact John.
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