American charity working  with Algarve orphanage.jpg

American charity working  with Algarve orphanage

By LIZ GRIFFITHS liz.griffiths@mmspublishing.com

Charity Computer Lab for Kids, which introduces young children to technology, has arrived in the Algarve.

Computer Lab for Kids is currently working with children at the Pirilampos orphanage in Olhos D’Água, where the orphans will work with a children-friendly laptop, Leapster, on which they will be able to learn English and basic computer skills.

Founder and president of Computer Lab for Kids, Shira Evans, told the Algarve Resident: “I selected the Leapster because of its popularity with children in the United States. The Leapster’s activities have built-in tutorials and adapt automatically to the child’s skill level.

“Orphans, unlike other children, have limited access to expensive toys and computers, so we feel the need to provide something fun and educational,” she said.

The course is also aimed at helping the children become more confident and responsible.“Our course is especially designed to increase self-esteem and responsibility,” Shira Evans said. “Each child learns to be responsible for their own equipment by carefully going over how to handle the Leapster, troubleshooting techniques and other basics.”

On completion of the course, each child receives a certificate and their own Leapster computer, which enables them to continue to build on their skills and confidence in technology.

Shira has been able to bring Computer Lab for Kids to the Algarve with the help of translator Reinier Hoeke, local advisors Hilde West and Pauline Van Wees and photographer Orlando Soria.

Shira, who has previous experience working for Microsoft as a Regional Lead in California, decided to create the charity while setting up computer labs in the poorest schools in Chicago.

“I noticed how much putting computers into the hands of children brightened their faces. I decided at that time it would be wonderful to set up a charity organisation that did just that – give technology to children who otherwise wouldn’t have it.”

Shira has also worked with two other orphanages this year in the Gaza strip in Israel and at an orphanage in Agra in India.

“Everywhere I’ve been, the children have loved the programme and been very excited about participating and earning their computers,” Shira Evans said.

“The best feedback I’ve had has been the smiles and laughter. It’s a truly rewarding cause and I hope to do many, many more.”

For more information and to give donations to the cause, please visit www.computerlabs4kids.org