Kudos to 23 community organizations who successfully completed Technology Matching Fund projects in 2015. These projects achieved greater digital inclusion for over 4,100 residents in Seattle left behind by the digital divide.
One grantee, Somali Community Services of Seattle (SCSS), received a $9,000 award to upgrade their aging computer lab. Computers almost a decade old made way for eleven new desktop computers. The lab has since been used weekly to teach more than 215 youth, adults and seniors a variety of technology skills. Classes are typically held twice a week for one hour by instructors versed in office computer skills.
Senior immigrants have especially benefited from these classes, because many had not been exposed to computers prior to arriving in the United States. The skills they learned in computer classes helped them write emails and letters to families and friends abroad. Some seniors even expressed a desire to teach these skills to youth as they learn and grow. Somali businessmen and businesswomen also used the lab for crucial business tasks like creating budgets and flyers.
Executive Director Sahra Farah emphasized the value of City support for community-based organizations like hers. “These funds help us fulfill our mission of assisting Somali refugee families and community members to achieve self-sustainable status in the communities they live in. Because computer skills are such vital skills to have in the 21st century, these resources are irreplaceable in helping Somali community members stay relevant, and productive.”