Closing the Digital Divide and Providing Tools to Access Education

It all started when my sister called me in despair to tell me that, in an ironic turn of events, all 3 laptops we collectively owned in my family crashed. It would cost millions of Lebanese pounds to repair them: that’s her entire salary over a couple of months to purchase computers to allow my nieces to study this year. Now I am a bit of a tech nerd myself and I have been fixing computers for a few years. I also can afford buying second hand computers, refurbish them and bring them home to give my nieces the tools to study, and my sister the essential medium to prepare her courses and teach her classes. But what about other people? What about the parents who have to choose between feeding their children or giving them a computer during the time of remote teaching?

I am a first generation college graduate in my entire family. My parents were only able to achieve middle school education during the Lebanese civil war. They experienced first hand the toll that the lack of education took on their economic and social mobility. And because they wanted a better future for us, they invested EVERYTHING in their children’s education. I am where I am today because my father wore his shoes with holes for years, and my mother skipped meals to pay for our education. I understand how education can lift people out of poverty and propel them into success.

So I decided to do something about it, and I need your help to succeed. Here are 3 ways you can help:

1/ Donate your old/unused technology: I am collecting laptops, iPads, iPad keyboards, headsets, USB flash drives and mouses. I will fix and upgrade them and bring back to Lebanon with me. If you are in the Los Angeles area, please email me at: [ellefersan] [@] [gmail] [.com] to coordinate pick up or drop off. Please reach out to me ASAP as I need to assess the machines and have enough time to repair or upgrade them and install the needed software.

2/ For those of you who want to help but are not in Los Angeles, I have compiled a shopping list of school supplies, and computer parts at Amazon. You can select the items that you would like to donate, or just send a gift card to my email which I will use toward the purchase of the higher priced items.
Many of you expressed not wanting to shop on Amazon. You can make donations directly to my Venmo account: @Eliane-Fersan with a note: Donation for Lebanese Children.
I also started this Go Fund Me campaign to allow you to give where you feel more comfortable.

3/ Please help by sharing, promoting, and if you can, donating to a my campaign to support Lebanese students in my home village in Lebanon. My home country is undergoing a major economic crisis that devalued the local currency by 90%, compounded by COVID19, and the major explosion that happened in August and left 300,000 homeless, over 200 deaths and millions without a job. Children are studying this semester from home using their parents’ smartphones to follow the zoom classes, while a basic pencil could cost the equivalent of $10 in the local currency. Parents are having to choose between feeding their children and giving them the tools to succeed at “school”.

Together we can bring hope to young children and empower them with the tools they need to access education.

Please share widely on your social media and donate if you can!

Donate your old laptop