I really enjoyed my time at All Nations Ministries in Belfast this week. David Maganda, a friend and volunteer Director at All Nations, asked me for some help with their new Computer Training suite.
All Nations is a registered charity that exists to support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Northern Ireland. Run entirely by an inspirational group of volunteers, they reach out to those on the fringes of our society. I was asking David about the countries represented at All Nations;
“Over the course of a year we help around 2000 people from over 25 countries including parts of the Middle East and Africa….. and we, the volunteers are local and international, representing around 15 different countries.”
They provide life-saving practical support through their Foodbank and other projects but their holistic approach goes beyond this. They promote integration between local and international communities though many mediums including; music, drama and sport. David was telling me about the events they run throughout the year. He is a very busy man - what an incredible project!
PCs from the PSNI
Many of those benefiting from All Nations have come from broken societies and terrible circumstances without the educational opportunities we take for granted. Recently, the North Belfast PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) sourced a number of second-hand Dell computers for All Nations. David commented;
“The PSNI are so important to our outreach. They support and encourage us so much and these computers are such a blessing.”
For obvious reasons, the hard drives on the computers had been wiped and so couldn’t be used until software was loaded.
What is Ubuntu?
The cost of installing Windows on these computers, along with MS Office, would be prohibitive. During my time in Uganda, I got to know Ubuntu – an Open Source (free) Linux-based operating system. It comes bundled with LibreOffice – a free MS Office equivalent. It is a fantastic OS and perfect for All Nations.
Ubuntu is easy to download and can be run from a USB drive in demo mode, or installed on a hard drive, even alongside Windows. Within 2 hours we had the first 7 computers up and running. The installation is very simple and the software can run on these 10 year old computers without any trouble.
Some time back, when I first discovered Ubuntu, I noted what the word Ubuntu actually means. It is an ancient African word meaning ‘Humanity to Others’. How appropriate.
Computer training begins
David and the team are beginning to organise Computer Training classes at All Nations HQ in Belfast. They are excited and hopeful that this service will be beneficial to all involved. If you would like to know more about All Nations, you can visit their Facebook page here.