DigitalForYouth.be remains committed to giving young people an opportunity to develop their digital skills. We made a lot of efforts in the spring of 2020. Our actions for schools were a great success and there was a massive response to our fundraising activities for organisations that want to hone the digital skills of young people.
Needless to say, we did not rest on our laurels. The demand for laptops continues to outstrip the supply and there are still a lot of young people at risk of digital exclusion. That is why we continue to collect and distribute laptops and funds with DigitalForYouth.be. Donations are still always welcome. You can read how you and your company can help on the DigitalForYouth .be website.
Schools and care institutions
Our actions for schools were an unexpected success. We have managed to provide schools throughout Belgium with over 15,000 refurbished laptops to date. In addition to schools, care institutions can also count on the support of DigitalForYouth.be. And they do.
Ave Regina, for example, is a care institution from Flemish Brabant that provides care and support to young people and adults with mental disabilities and behavioural and emotional disorders. It submitted an application to DigitalForYouth.be and recently received 16 laptops. This enabled them to replace the obsolete computers in the computer room and to organise another mobile programming course for young people to take programming lessons every Wednesday.
The laptops make a fundamental difference for the young people. ‘During the first lockdown, there were a lot of children who could not do schoolwork with us because we did not have enough hardware. A short learning gap can quickly have major consequences, especially for our children', says Veronique Dewaet who is in charge of sports and leisure at Ave Regina. ‘They can now do schoolwork thanks to the laptops. And the programming lessons teach our children to think in a problem-solving and logical manner. They learn to be precise and creative -- skills that also help them at school'.
61 projects supported
The regular operation of DigitalForYouth.be will continue of course. Under the banner of 'PC Solidarity' it still launches calls for projects through the King Baudouin Foundation. This means that organisations with a social purpose (commercial projects are not allowed) which are established in Belgium are allowed to prepare a candidate file and to apply when there is a new call.
The results of the first two calls for projects are a success. Last summer, we delivered 729 laptops to organisations that had filed an application during the first call which ran as of November 2019. The delivery was somewhat delayed because of actions by the school. We made up for this last shortcoming when distributing the 303 laptops to organisations whose applications were approved during our second call. With the first and second calls together, DigitalForYouth.be supported no fewer than 61 projects.
Assessment of the third call for projects
In the third call for projects, which ran until October, a total of 65 complete files were submitted: 41 for Wallonia and 24 for Flanders. An auditor from the King Baudouin Foundation is currently going through the applications to see which ones are eligible. Files that meet all the conditions will then be submitted to a jury in December. Each member of the panel gives an assessment based on a number of predetermined selection criteria and gives a score out of ten. The scores of the different members of the panel are then added up per file. The panel meets in mid-December Mid to assess all the files together and to allocate the available laptops. DigitalForYouth.be has made 300 laptops available in all. These will be divided approximately equally between Dutch and French-speaking projects.
Together with Close The Gap DNS Belgium is not only the founder of DigitalForYouth.be, but also the biggest sponsor, providing operational and managerial support fort he non-profit association.