For the children at one refugee camp, the ZubaBox will be a game-changer.
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CARE & Windows 10

We hear a lot about the ways in which technology has changed lives, but it's easy to forget just how technologically privileged some parts of the world are while others are not.

While many of us can easily hop on our computers, phones, and tablets to devour everything from the latest celebrity news to innovative medical advances, there are children in many parts of the world without access to the internet to complete their homework; teachers with outdated materials who can't search for a new study to share with their students; medical professionals who are unable to read about breakthroughs in their field in a daily email digest.


Image by Computer Aid, used with permission.

While the internet is an integral part of our lives, it's a critical missing component for so many — something that could vastly improve their experiences if they could only access it.

That's where the ZubaBox comes in.

Image by Computer Aid, used with permission.

A ZubaBox provides rural areas with solar internet centers, offering those who need it most a technology many of us take for granted.

So, what does that mean?

Solar panels are placed onto a container that's converted into a tech hub for people who do not have 24/7 access to the internet.

Image by SixZeroMedia/Computer Aid, used with permission.

The implications are life-changing.

David Barker, former chief executive of Computer Aid — the organization powering this technology — spoke to BusinessGreen about the impact:

"This allows the doctor to contact specialists in the city hospital, school children to access educational material, and local people to expand their businesses, David Barker [explained]. 'Now even the local bank comes round via Macha and it plugs into the internet link, sets up its little booth, and gives you your cash,' Barker said. 'Suddenly you’ve got teachers who want to work there because they can get paid.'”

Image by SixZeroMedia/Computer Aid, used with permission.

And this is just the beginning.

There are currently 10 ZubaBoxes located in neighborhoods throughout Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Nigeria. And on May 26, 2016, South America received its first ZubaBox in Cazuca, Bogota. William Jimenez, regional coordinator at Tiempo de Juego, said this to Computer Aid:

"Since the Lab arrived, the younger generation has naturally been curious and excited but the emotion that this event has stirred in the elders has been really moving. The fact that someone has finally considered Cazucá a priority is not only important [because of the] technology and training provided, but also because of the optimism it inspires in the entire community."

The ZubaBoxes provide a necessary technology, but just as importantly, they provide hope and the promise of a path forward to communities that have long felt neglected.

Image by Computer Aid, used with permission.

Next stop? The Kakuma refugee camp.

Kakuma, located in Kenya, is one of the world's largest refugee camps.

Teachers at the Kakuma refugee camp are currently teaching 150 to 200 students at a time, with one textbook for every 10 students and no computers. Think about what a difference a ZubaBox will make for those kids. And think about what a difference it would make for those teachers.

Image by SixZeroMedia/Computer Aid, used with permission.

SAVIC, an organization run by Kakuma refugees, is working hard to raise awareness and funding for the ZubaBox. They aim to provide up to 1,800 young refugees an outlet through which they can expand their horizons, connect with the modern world, and share their stories.

If their efforts are rewarded, they'll be able to provide their community with access to what is quickly becoming a basic necessity, one that can show them options for how to begin to rebuild.

Watch this video to see how the ZubaBoxes are built.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.