IT Literacy Project (Issue 17, 2012)

ComputerLa Trobe students have volunteered their time to help migrant, newly arrived and elderly Muslim citizens bridge the digital divide.

Students from all backgrounds, international and Australian, from different degrees and areas of study are dedicating themselves to help people from the Muslim community in Melbourne’s northern suburbs to surf the net, keep in touch with loved ones and enhance their employability.

The IT Literacy Project is being conducted at the Preston Mosque, every Saturday for a month from 1 September 2012.

The initiative is a partnership between La Trobe University, the Preston Mosque and Infoxchange, and is financially supported by the Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship and the Islamic Council of Victoria.

Infoxchange’s mission is to create social equality and opportunity by empowering people through access to information technology and enabling the exchange of information and ideas.

La Trobe is dedicated to local community engagement and actively seeks to encourage multicultural ties between students and people in the local area. The La Trobe Award program is one way we promote student volunteering and activity – it formally recognises students’ volunteering efforts on and off campus.

‘This is a great opportunity for students and community alike,’ says Joanna Shaw, International Student Coordinator at La Trobe University.

‘Students have the opportunity to develop their skills, while giving something back to the local community. There has been terrific interest from a wide range of students, mostly non-Muslim, to get involved and help build bridges across our community. There is a great willingness to reach out, get involved and learn.’

‘We are very excited about this pilot initiative, which brings together older and younger people of different cultural and religious backgrounds – and help to foster new relationships and understanding,’ says Mr Baha Yehia, the Secretary of the Preston Mosque.

‘Many parents who worship at the Mosque are IT illiterate. They have no idea what their children are doing online, and are unaware of the dangers of cyber bulling and the like. We hope this will build their IT skills and confidence, and enhance their ability to communicate with family overseas and gain meaningful employment.’

For more information on La Trobe International’s activities and student services, visit latrobe.edu.au/international/life/activities