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5/25/2006
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Darrell Dunn
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Johannesburg, Austin Benefit From Inexpensive Computers

What's good for poor students in Africa proves just as good for the underprivileged kids of Texas.

Advanced Micro Devices' ambitious plan to push Internet access to half the world's population is rid- ing on the Personal Internet Communicator, a machine that may already be making a difference in poor regions of the world--including some parts of the United States.

Most recently, the PICs were installed outside Johannesburg, South Africa, and in underprivileged parts of Austin, Texas. Teachers in both places tout the positive impact of easy, inexpensive Internet access on their students.

Veronica Kgabo, principal of the Diep Sloot school near Johannesburg, says children at the school "hardly have a plate of food, much less a home computer." A deployment of PICs to students there has provided "a means to escape the poverty into which they were born and now are trapped. The computers allow these children to have better job opportunities in the years ahead."

Vicki Baldwin, principal of Garza High School in Austin, says her school is home to students who live "on the wrong side" of the major interstate highway that bisects the city. An installation of PICs at the school is opening doors that previously were closed. "These are stu- dents who would be casualties, [but] who now believe dreams can come true," Baldwin says. "It is helping us level the playing field."

The PIC devices aren't only equipping Austin students who otherwise couldn't own PCs, but they're helping them with work they do in community outreach programs. Students have used the machines in work they do assisting at halfway houses.

Return to main story, Tech Giants, Nonprofits Make Ambitious Push With Cheap PCs

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