N50 Project Exceeds Target, Deploys Solar-Powered Connectivity Centres to Aid Refugees in Ukraine

One of the Portable Connectivity Centres in Romania. Credit: Geeks Without Frontiers

Computer Aid International and Geeks Without Frontiers have successfully surpassed their goal of establishing ten solar-powered connectivity centres in and around Ukraine to assist refugees, thanks to the unwavering support of the N50 Project.

The N50 initiative specifically focuses on the remaining 50 percent of the global population that is yet to actively participate in the digital realm.

These innovative Portable Connectivity Centres (PCCs) are ingeniously transformed shipping containers, harnessing a combination of grid energy and solar power, with backup generators available for contingencies. Equipped with essential technologies such as phones and Dell computers, the PCCs enable refugees to access the internet and vital information. This connectivity empowers them to conduct research as they plan their next steps, pursue their education, and avail themselves of crucial services.

Six of the PCCs have been deployed in Romania, two in Poland, and an additional four in Ukraine. In Bucharest, one of the PCCs attracts approximately 200 to 250 visitors daily, a significant number of whom are children, seeking to utilize the WiFi or engage in organized activities. The majority of users are under the age of 18, with a significant portion hailing from Ukraine. Surveyed users have expressed their contentment with the centres, highlighting their comfort, safety, accessibility, and provision of essential resources.

Moreover, the PCCs in Ukraine have proven instrumental in providing vital services to local authorities in Dnipro, Lutsk, and Lviv, where the influx of displaced people from war-affected regions has overwhelmed government infrastructure. Many of the technological resources within these centres were generously donated by Dell Technologies, including 200 Rugged laptops, 30 Dell Chromebooks, ten 55-inch monitors, 200 charging docks, as well as power control units and cords.

Keith Sonnet, CEO of Computer Aid, expressed deep gratitude for Dell Technologies’ donation and extended appreciation to American Tower Corporation, Cognizant, Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), Exclusive Networks, Geeks Without Frontiers, Intel, Simplyhealth, Vodafone Foundation, WWT, and World Vision for their invaluable support.

Sonnet stated, “As part of the N50 Project, we take pride in aiding the Ukrainian refugee crisis. It is our duty to assist those in need, especially when our expertise allows us to connect marginalized individuals. We are immensely grateful for Dell Technologies’ generous technology contribution, which enables us to provide connectivity to Ukraine war refugees. The additional support received from other N50 Partners has been invaluable, allowing us to surpass our initial target and deploy 12 centres.”

Computer Aid’s overarching mission is to bridge the digital divide and grant access to technology for those who need it most. With over 25 years of experience, Computer Aid has provided technology solutions to more than 100 countries, extending access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities to millions of people.

The deployment of these connectivity centres represents a significant milestone in Computer Aid’s mission to connect communities in need. It is hoped that this project will serve as a model for future initiatives in other regions affected by conflict and displacement.

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