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Donation News

Ghana School Without Computers Receives Donation from Microsoft

Richard Appiah Akoto is a junior high school teacher in Ghana who had a major obstacle. His students will have to pass an exam including computer skills questions, but his school hasn’t had any computers since 2011 due to budget shortfalls. He has over 100 students between 14 and 15, and only one of them managed to achieve an A grade last year.

So Akoto rose to the challenge. In chalk, he did a detailed walk-through of common software like Microsoft Word, showing them how to launch and operate the programs. He put a few pictures of his process online, via his Facebook. The pictures went viral, spreading like wildfire across Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.

One person spreading the post tagged @MicrosoftAfrica in her tweet. She wrote:

“Hey @MicrosoftAfrica, he’s teaching MS Word on a blackboard. Surely you can get him some proper resources.”

The same day, Microsoft Africa replied, saying they would get a device to Akoto, along with training resources. In the next few weeks, they flew him to Singapore for computer training and to attend an educator’s conference.

In the meantime, the viral post was catching other people’s attention. A benefactor at University of Leeds in the U.K. sent Akoto a laptop for his students. NIIT Ghana, a local computer training school, donated five desktops, books on computer skills, and a laptop. Akoto’s Facebook page is flooded with comments from individuals, companies, and news agencies offering more help.

Small donations, from the donors’ perspectives. But the value added to Akoto’s school and to the education of his students is immeasurable. His drawings were meticulous, ambitious, and a wonderful learning tool when nothing better was available. But teaching and learning on the real thing will take his students so much further. Another example of how social media has proven to be a powerful tool for those in need.

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Resources

Ways to Make the World Better Just by Using the Internet

Digital Philanthropy

In the Digital Age, people are used to instant results. You can search for anything online in mere seconds, order food that’s delivered to your door just by using an app, and purchase items from around the world with just a few clicks. Happily, this consumer-driven need for instant gratification can be used for good causes. Here are a few ways to make the world better just by clicking on a few links online.

Stop Violence Against Women. Just click on one of the site’s sponsors and it helps generate donations. Proceeds go to Amnesty International where the “Stop Violence Against Women” campaign was born in 2004.

Save the Oceans. When you click on the link here, the site’s sponsors will make a donation to Oceana, which is the globe’s largest ocean conservation non-profit.

Plant Trees with Trivia. The more trivia questions you answer correctly the more “leaves” you collect. With every leaf, the site’s advertising sponsors donate funds to one of the site’s two partners, Trees for the Future and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. 180 correct answers = 1 tree planted.

You can also use different trivia questions to feed the animals. This one doesn’t matter if you answer correctly or not, one answer equals ten pieces of kibble donated to feed homeless cats and dogs.

Feed the Hungry. For every vocabulary question you answer correctly, ten grains of rice are donated to the UN’s World Food Programme. While that might not sound like a lot at first, it adds up quickly and you are improving your vocabulary at the same time!

Provide Books for Children. Donations on this site are funded by GreaterGood’s partner organizations. The Literacy Site was founded to give books to low-income children across the US and promote literacy. Each click provides 1% of a book.

Feed Abandoned Animals. This site is in French, but it’s pretty straightforward. Click the big yellow button near the center of the page. ClicAnimaux (literally “click animals”) helps provide food, shelter and other support for abandoned animals. There are many, many homeless animals across Europe. Between donations from the site and its advertising partners, 3 million meals have been provided since its inception.

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Resources

Where Should You Volunteer?

Where Should I Volunteer?
IMG: via Shutterstock.

It’s a common problem.  You want to volunteer someplace, but don’t know where to get started.  How do you find a place to volunteer?  Are you just supposed to hit the internet and Google things like “soup kitchen,” or “build houses” in your area?  Are you supposed to look up charities you’ve vaguely heard of, things like “habitat for humanity,” or “local food bank”?  And if you do, how do you know that the charity you find is reputable and worthwhile?

Luckily there are groups out there who can take care of all of that for you.  These organizations will help rate charities for you so that you know where they are located and what to expect.   And they’re not any farther away than a click of the mouse .

One of these groups online is  VolunteerMatch.org. With nothing more than a desire to volunteer and a zipcode you can find volunteer organizations in your area that are reputable, organized, and actively looking for volunteers.  They’ve got millions of visitors and over 80,000 organizations on their site, which is more than enough to help you find someone you can help near you.

But if you’re looking for something a bit more than VolunteerMatch then Idealist.org might be the website for you.  It’s a board for volunteer opportunities, internships, or even jobs that are looking for people.  You can post your resume, explore options, and even apply online.

And that’s not it.  Both groups also keep blogs containing an extensive collection of news articles and write-ups of different organizations in their network.  All-in-all, they’re excellent resources for potential volunteers, and a great way to scratch that philanthropy itch.