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Bluff Centre Upgrade Underway: Please Be Generous
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Page 1 of 1Total of 1 messages
Posted by:May 21st 2007, 03:51:21 pm
Fig Tree News TeamAs you well know, the Briland Modem located at www.briland.com is an island news and information resource by and for Harbour Island and North Eleuthera, Bahamas. The Briland Modem was designed to serve as an online community portal for all local businesses, school and library outlets, historical and cultural resources, resorts, aviation and marine resources, fishing charters, travel information, and airline and ferry connection updates, and the message board at www.briland.com is a popular online meeting room for Brilanders all over the world.

Its not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Briland Modem Fund [EIN 95-4762982] serves as the centralized collection and distribution point for funds dedicated to community relief and program development for the Harbour Island and Eleuthera area. The Fund was created in September 1999 in direct response to damage incurred to local islanders' uninsured homes as a result of Hurricane Floyd, and the Fund worked to coordinate the purchase of building supplies from commercial resources in Florida. The Fund has traditionally served as a means by which local community interests on the island can benefit from outside donations, i.e. computer software and hardware for the development of regional computer centers, building supplies, education supplies, books, Internet networking solutions, visual communications support, nursery supplies, financial support, media supplies and other such community needs deemed essential.

The community technology centre network project
Computer access and training is critical for success in today's business environment. The Commonweath of the Bahamas is a stable, developing nation with an economy based on tourism and offshore banking: tourism accounts for 60% of the Gross Domestic Product and employs 40% of the national labor force. (CIA: The World Factbook 2000) With the rapidly growing conversion of business operations to computer-based infrastructures, it is more critical than ever that computer literacy programs address the growing need of computer education in the Bahamas.

The communities of Harbour Island and North and South Eleuthera are rural, island communities, approximately 90 miles from Nassau, the nation's capital. Local, public access to computer education programs did not exist prior to the Community Computer Center program, forcing those who desired computer training to travel to Nassau or the United States, often at great expense. With the implementation of the Community Computer Center Program, children and adults residing in the rural island communities of Harbour Island and North and South Eleuthera now have access to computer equipment and training without having to relocate to the urban centers. Additionally, computer training provides professional alternatives to individuals who might otherwise spend a lifetime in a low wage, service profession such as housekeeping or landscaping for the tourism industry.

Program Goals and Expected Outcomes
The original 2001 goal of the computer literacy program was to provide computer access and training to all local residents of Harbour Island and North and South Eleuthera, Bahamas. The community computer centers provide after school computer training classes for community children, and adult computer literacy training. The initial waiting list for adult education classes on Harbour Island alone originally extended nine months, demonstrating the phenomenal interest in demand for such a program. Anticipated outcome of the computer literacy program is to provide computer training and access to all community children, and to provide computer training and access to all adults who desire such learning. Support of local government in such endeavors has been tremendous; founding Commissioner Rufus Johnson has stated that efforts will not cease “until everyone on the island knows how to use a computer!” Given the popularity of these successful public/private sector initiatives throughout Eleuthera, plans are underway to extend the program's footprint throughout the southern Out Islands of the Bahamas.

Additional ongoing programs supported by the Briland Modem Fund:
Exceptional Education Outreach – Eleuthera and Harbour Island special education program and All Age School, Harbour Island; Harbour Island Arts & Crafts Wood Workshop; Tarpum Bay Public Library [Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera]; Carey After School Project [Rock Sound, Eleuthera]; Bluff Community Centre/ Library [Bluff, Eleuthera]; Hatchet Bay After School Computer Program [Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera]; The Dunmore School [Harbour Island]; North Eleuthera After School Computer Program [Bluff, Eleuthera]; The Briland Fire Truck [ongoing fundraising and promotion] project; Briland Park harbourside renovation [ongoing fundraising and promotion] project; Lighthouse Church of God computer centre; Briland ArtsWalk quarterly local artists showcase.

Description and Timeline of Program Activities
Program activities and efforts are ongoing, as there is a continuing need to provide updated computer equipment, software and training for program activities. The Harbour Island Community Computer Center, the Fund's first project, opened in April 2000 at the newly-renovated fire station at the Gaol Lane complex, with two state-of-the art IBM Personal Computers, one color printer and ten 133MhZ Pentium computers. Given the immense popularity of the centre, local government then moved the centre to the Sir George S. Roberts Memorial Library, where it flourished until July 2004. The Bluff Community; Hatchet Bay; Rock Sound Computer Centers opened in available local government spaces throughout Eleuthera. The Briland Modem Fund has since received requests from local government councils throughout North and South Eleuthera and the southern Out Islands to assist in funding community-based computer programs, and its corporate sponsors in Nassau , the U.K. and the U.S. are currently working to fill the need for adequate hardware, software and networking opportunities throughout the Out Islands .

Benefiting Population
The population of North and South Eleuthera and Harbour Island is approximately 10,500 (Bahamas 1990 census). Age structure of the population is approximately 30% aged 0-14 years, 64% aged 15-64 years, and 6% aged 65 or older (CIA FactBook 2000).

Evaluation Process
Program success will be based upon the development of community computer resources throughout Harbour Island, Eleuthera and the southern Out Islands of the Bahamas, which will enable all residents of the rural island communities to gain much needed and desired training and fluency in computer skills, enabling the population of the southern Out Islands greater access to local professional career opportunities.

The Briland Modem Fund continues to solicit donations from private sources and grant programs to meet the needs of the computer literacy program. Private donations have already enabled us to open the existing community computer centres, and donations of equipment and supplies from private donors are on-going. Our generous corporate sponsors to date include IBM Nassau, Amoury Company, Royal Bank of Canada, Rotary Club East Nassau, Providence Technology Group, Wadsworth Holdings Ltd., Microsoft Foundation, Higgs Construction and Bahamas Ferries.

Description and Annual Budget
The Briland Modem Fund is fully-staffed by volunteers, and 100% of all financial and services resources earned are donated to the Fund. Subsequently, the Briland Modem Fund does not have an annual operating budget at this time. As donations come in, the existing network is maintained and expanded. Work is presently underway to update the centre located in Bluff, Eleuthera, an impoverished fishing community in North Eleuthera which currently features the network's only bilingual training program, with computer literacy and writing instruction offered in English and Creole.

RSVP info@brilandmodemfund.com if you can assist with monetary gifts (fully tax-deductible) or donations of hardware and educational software.

Thanks so much!
The Briland Modem Fund team

Contact us online at
info@briland.com

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