Most people don't associate the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) with information technology, but it proved otherwise last week when it donated 44 PCs to a number of communities in East Timor.
The shipment, which includes keyboards, monitors and mice, will go towards helping the people of the world's newest nation join the information age. The 44 PCs are part of the East Timor Community Computer Project, which seeks technology donations from companies, governments agencies and organisations around the world.
The NGV donated Pentium and 486 computers that will be installed at unfunded community group centres in the newly independent country.
"For many Australian workplaces, such as the NGV, these computer models are regarded as redundant and of little use, yet for the people of East Timor, these computers will be their first step into the information age," said NGV information technology manager Leon Sayers. "I'm delighted that the NGV is able to assist a number of East Timorese communities and I encourage other organisations to offer their support."
Jan Carr, an East Timor Community Computer Project member, said the NGV's donation would make a big difference in the communities.
"East Timorese people are building a new nation and in this day and age it is essential for them to be able to take advantage of communication technologies in their quest to reconstruct their country, their culture and their economy," she said.
"The aim of our project is to work cooperatively with East Timorese communities to assist them to develop their computer skills to a level where they themselves feel empowered to manage the further training and overall development of the project," Carr said.
The East Timor Community Computer Project was established two years ago by Australian workers to assist the strife-torn country. It has involved the creation of a training centre in Bebonuk, in which local residents are taught how to use a computer, undertake repairs and train other members of the community.
The project would welcome donations from other organisations, particularly Pentium PCs, bubble jet, inkjet and laser printers. Further details about the project can be obtained from www.etccp.org.au.