In such an age of technology, computers are no longer a luxury but a necessity, and their use has become important to every member of a family. An indispensible skill to retain, computer literacy improves opportunities for children, youth and parents. It provides the means for knowledge sharing and acquisition and is powerful tool for learning, self expression and innovation.
Upon establishment, QRFCC realized the need for IT learning and access to computers to be included in its children and youth programs. The need for an interactive learning IT lab where children can acquire IT skills, interact with one other, and express their feelings and ideas through technological means continuously surfaced in QRFCC workshops and activities. Although access to computers in Jordan is increasing throughout Ministry of Education Schools, the Jabal Al Nasser area lacks the availability of IT learning facilities; leaving a large number of low-income families computer-illiterate. Since the children and adults of such low-income families have less access to computers, they in turn have fewer opportunities to realize their potential, and excel academically when compared to more privileged children.
The computer lab at QRFCC does not only provide instruction on computer skills and the use of various computer programs, it also demonstrates how computers serve as a tool through which children, youth and parents can learn about the concepts of child safety and rights, interact positively with each one another within a group, express themselves freely, and think creatively in a positive and stimulating environment. In addition to the different programs conducted in the IT lab, participants also learn how to use the internet effectively and have supervised access to safe and constructive websites through that expose them to the extensive information available on the internet. Currently, not many centers offer tips on online safety, particularly in relation to bullying and disclosure of personal information by children to potential abusers. QRFCC’s unique model of an IT Lab specializes in offering both concepts of safety, as well as digital literacy that aims to further educate and empower beneficiaries.
The aim of the “Clicking for Opportunities” is to enhance children’s welfare through the empowerment and participation of family members in different IT based programs, hence promote positive family dynamics as well as IT literacy. Through this workshop, QRFCC aims to utilize various IT applications in encouraging children and adolescents to relay messages of safety, child rights awareness as well as promote opportunities for cultural exchange via the web. Our concept of technological fluency involves not only knowledge on how to use technological tools, but also on how to contrast things of significance with these tools. A technologically fluent person should be able to move from an original idea to the implementation of a technological project.
JRF also realizes the significance of youth and their instrumental role in the long-term process for social change. Young people account for one third of the total population in Jordan, and they are and will remain a significant definitive aspect of Jordanian society. This demographic composition poses a challenge for Jordan’s government and civil society to meet the needs of these young men and women. Their empowerment and capacity building during this transitional period of their development is, therefore, of utmost importance. With relation to this, QRFCC plays an important role not only in providing youth with access to technology but also to improving their skills, sharing information, building their self confidence and allowing them to acquire the necessary tools for personal and professional success.
To this end, JRF strives to recruit youth volunteers with IT backgrounds who will be trained to conduct IT training and workshops and hence develop their professional capacity. To accomplish this, JRF will rely on its established Volunteering System to recruit and ensure the retention of qualified volunteers, who will in turn offer specialized IT sessions to children and youth.
To empower our community as a whole, we also need to address the needs of parents, as well as children and youth. Parents should be part of the change, since empowering parents enhances the parenting process. Parents should be aware and capable of introducing their children into the world of computers and to the significance of acquiring computer skills as one of the tools that will build their children’s future. It is important to convey the message to parents that such skills are not only important to children but to them as well, so that they can better understand their children and their developmental needs through joint activities, using technological resources.