More than 4 billion people in the world are offline. Curiously, 2.5 billion people live in the mobile data coverage area but still lack Internet access. There are numerous, diverse reasons behind this disparity but according to the GiveInternet.org team, they all boil down to one barrier: affordability. This is why they have set up a platform where anyone can sponsor Internet access for disadvantaged high school students in a few clicks. This is how that works.
In 2017, a young team at a nonprofit called Educare Georgia was working towards a bold mission: to provide access to free world-class education to anyone in Georgia – a small, developing country at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. As a post-Soviet country that had experienced extreme poverty, civil war and destruction and that was now partially occupied by Russia, it struggled to provide a high-quality, equitable education system to its citizens. So to expand access to high-quality educational content, the team at Educare Georgia partnered with, localized and disseminated educational platforms like Khan Academy and Code.org.
But they soon realized that the students who needed these resources the most did not have computers or Internet access. They were missing out on various academic and economic opportunities, global knowledge, social and cultural exchange and self-expression, public debates. In today’s knowledge economy, they virtually had no chance of success.
And the GiveInternet.org project was born. GiveInternet.org is a fundraising platform where anyone can sponsor Internet access or laptops for high school students in need. Each student is equipped with a laptop, an Internet connection, free access to a number of EdTech platforms, digital training and constant mentorship from the team. The story of each student, each project, cost, donor, and partner is documented on the website and donors receive transparency reports with a detailed account of the costs. Thanks to up to 1,000 individuals who donate monthly, more than 450 students are now online. They mostly reside in refugee camps, rural areas and villages by the line of Russian occupation. (a result of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.)
While most charities focus on their immediate needs of the poor – clean water, medical care, food, etc. – the GiveInternet.org team thinks that Internet access is the most cost-efficient gift that can bring people out of poverty. And their students have had inspiring results and success stories.
So what’s next for GiveInternet.org?
They are now incorporating a tax-deductible nonprofit in the US to attract donations from overseas. They are also planning to expand their project to other countries in the Middle East and Africa.
How can you help?
Consider all the ways in which the Internet has transformed your life and advanced your chances of success. And help GiveInternet’s cause:
- Subscribe to their monthly newsletter on their website;
- Follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram;
- Spread the word — each time you share the project they raise on average $1;
- Become a monthly donor — it takes a couple of clicks and $7 to give one underprivileged high school student Internet access for a month, and the team promises to keep you updated on their costs, activities and success stories through their monthly transparency report!
– 80% report that they now dedicate more time to education and personal growth.
– 42% use the Internet to learn a foreign language.
– 53% have taken up an online course.
– 81% report that they are now able to do homework more efficiently.
Below are some of GiveInternet’s success stories:
Barbare lives in a remote village in the Caucasus but doesn’t shy away from being an effective advocate for her country online.
She lives with 9 siblings. Her mom is the headmistress of the school – a school that serves 17 students from 2 nearby villages – and her dad drives the public bus to the capital city. In June 2019, protests against Russian interference broke out in Tbilisi, Georgia – thousands of young civilians and activists united and organized in a Facebook group flooded the streets to fight against Russian occupation. Through posts, comments and sharing, she’s supporting the young demonstrators, advocating for Georgia as a travel destination and commenting on news from international media.
Severian, is the star student and a nation-wide champion who will make you want to make the most of the Internet, too!
When life gave him Internet access, he turned it into prizes, gifts and travel. Severian’s story is bound to make you want to make the most of the Internet. He received a laptop and an Internet connection from GiveInternet last December. In a few months, he ranked number one (among over 200,000 students!) on Murtsku – a Georgian EdTech platform for university entrance exam preparations. His ‘obsession’ with STEM subjects and geography helped him win at the national Olympics and earned him a spot at the nation-wide STEM summer camps. As an exceptional camp leader, he was awarded a trip to England by the Government.
Here are other young people GiveInternet Seeks to help
Medo, 17, is dreaming about enrolling in the Tbilisi State University. She wants to become a journalist – she loves communicating with people and thinks that she’ll do a good job working in television. At school, she loves history and Georgian.
Gabriel, 14, loves to dance – he’s a member of the school dance ensemble. His favorite subject is physics but he’s not so crazy about geography – he hates memorizing maps.
Sieda, 17 is planning to apply to the Georgian Technical University. She has 8 siblings, one of which is already studying there. At school, she is mostly passionate about geography, history, physics and math. She loves painting and sewing and is dreaming about becoming a designer.
Remember you can help by:
- Subscribing to the monthly newsletter on their website;
- Following them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram;
- Spreading the word — each time you share the project they raise on average $1;
- Becoming a monthly donor — it takes a couple of clicks and $7 to give one underprivileged high school student Internet access for a month, and the team promises to keep you updated on their costs, activities and success stories through their monthly transparency report!