Challenges in Dunedin and Otago

Janine Lonergan, 20/20 Regional Coordinator, is keen to restart Computers in Homes in Dunedin and Otago

In the interval between hearing the great news that Coalition Agreement will restore Computers in Homes funding and actually being able to restart  the programme, we are sharing some stories from recent reports.

Janine Lonergan, the Otago Region Co-ordinator reviews the challenges and outcomes of 2016-2017:

This year of 2016-17 has been another exciting year down here in Otago. We have had a successful year of firsts. With a change of tutors and a fresh set of minds thinking ‘outside the box’, we have really achieved some fantastic outcomes.

Unifone helped in Harwood

The first was trying to get a reasonable form of Internet connection down to Harwood on the peninsula. None of the big suppliers wanted to take this on but with some dogged determination we worked with Unifone to get it happening. I’m pleased to report the trial family were very happy and have just transitioned all their services over to Unifone.

Carisbrook Graduation
Carisbrook Graduates

So many enthusiastic schools…

Our next challenge was four different schools in Milton all expressing an interest in hosting the programme. We all met around the table and arranged for Tokomairiro High to host us for this year with the help of Sarah Ennor, who tutored the classes as well as teaching daily at the school.

Thanks Sarah for all your dedication to these families.


“Thank you for the opportunity to learn computer skills and to gain a laptop. My life and my family’s life has been enriched by this experience through Computers in Homes. My eldest is away to Tokomairiro High School next year and will be accessing chrome books daily. The course has given me the skills and knowledge to assist and monitor her use of the internet.

May your future endeavours be as successful as mine was. Thank you again.”

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Chromebooks on a tight budget

We then had families who had children needing Chromebooks and tablets for their kids at school. This was a real challenge but thanks to the assistance of other coordinators and Ivor our technician, we managed to supply refurbished Chromebooks and tablets that fitted into our budget. Dale Smart took over as the tutor which is a success story in itself. Dale had been a CiH mum who had gone through all the available training with CiH. We worked together to tailor the classes towards what they would need to know to operate these machines. Success for all and as the photos show some very happy kids.

Grandparents keep up with the kids

“Came from South Auckland and never got the chance to do it through my child’s school in Weymouth. So happy they now have this to use for both school work and pleasure. They can keep in touch with family in Auckland without having to use my phone.”

Then I was approached by the RSA in Mosgiel. They had grandparents who were supplying an internet connection for their grandchildren, especially over school holidays, but had no idea at all what these kids were up to or why. I got a care worker who was computer savvy and set up two classes of retirees. Well, by graduation they were totally sold and are now all looking for further training. They realised it wasn’t rocket science and they would now be able to “keep up with the kids”.

Connecting refugees to their new – and old- countries

Our last challenge was working with Syrian refugees. These are the families who didn’t fit the criteria for the CiH refugee classes but were still in desperate need of both technical knowledge and hardware. We managed to get Vicki to tutor. She had graduated from an earlier refugee class, and understood a little Arabic, so she offered to work as an interpreter. Huge thanks also to Waad as without her translation we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this. The 18 families graduated last week from a mainstream class and were so grateful for the opportunity.

All in all, it has really opened my eyes into how communities can work side by side to achieve anything they set their minds to. Thanks to the awesome group who have worked with me in this final* Computers in Homes programme.

More quotes from families, 2016-17

“Obviously I am going to need to keep moving forward and I am hoping to learn a lot more on my own and thanks to lessons learnt so far I believe I will master this computer eventually.

“It has improved my confidence and self-worth, as well as making some firm friendships.”

“This program has allowed time for me to explore aspects of the computer that were of specific interest to me. Provided very supportive assistance and advice. Gave me incentive to carry on with computer studies.”

Not the final programme!

Editors note: The coalition government announced in the Coalition Agreement they will restore Computers in Homes funding. We are eager to discuss this with the new government, as soon as they have settled in.

These sort of challenges – and comments – are not unusual for our programmes, though Janine certainly seemed to get, and overcome, more than her share last year.

We’re looking forward to tackling the next challenges, and helping many more New Zealanders get digitally connected, with Janine and our other fantastic co-ordinators and delivery partners.