Dhaka institute gives free computer education to poor

Dhaka, July 15: For many people in the affluent world, using a computer is just an ordinary thing. But for a large section of the urban population in the Bangladesh capital, the use of computers, and particularly the internet, is still out of reach.

But things are now changing for many underprivileged students here since the launch of an institute dedicated to provide them with the means to learn how to use computers.

The institute, aptly called “Computers Are Free for Everyone (CAFFE)”, is providing free computer education to people from the less affluent section of Dhaka, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We started CAFFE with the mission of providing the very best opportunities to underprivileged students in Bangladesh,” said Luke Doyle, founder and chairman of the institute.

Doyle established the institute in 2011 with financial support from some Bangladeshis living in China.

The institute, which started with only 12 students, is now offering free computer education to some 200 students.

“Original funding actually came from China from a group of Bangladeshi parents in Shanghai. They helped us get started. Without them, it would be very difficult for us to put up the school,” Doyle said.

Doyle said the institute introduced computers to many students who had never touched the device in their lives.

Jahangir Alam, who now teaches computer technology as a part-time teacher in CAFFE, was the first graduate of the institute.

“I’ve learnt so many things in the institute. I learnt Microsoft Word, Excel, Power point, Adobe Photoshop and various programming techniques here,” Alam told Xinhua.

Alam, who is studying in level eight in a formal school after the end of his working hours at the institute, plans to take computer teaching as a profession in order to help children from poor families.

Sohel Rana, the first teacher in CAFFE, said most of the students come from poor families and don’t get support for education. “Rather, they work to support their families,” Rana said.

CAFFE is planning to set up branches in several regions across Bangladesh.

“Our ultimate dream is probably still a long way. But our long-term objective is to be a fully digital school,” Doyle said.

IANS