Access to Technology is More Essential Now Than Ever Before

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed — and even deepened — the impact of the digital divide among girls across the globe. With the world’s mass transition to virtual learning, access to technology, including hardware devices, software, and WiFi access, has become more important now than ever before.

Students without access to these essential resources have proven to be less engaged in the classroom, thus decreasing educational and career opportunities and deepening income inequities.

At Play Like a Girl, we believe every student should be afforded the same learning opportunities. So, we’re doing something to change that. We’ve partnered with the Frist Foundation and AmazonSmile to deliver much-needed resources, including iPad Minis, laptops and WiFi hotspots to girls in need. Additional funding from partners like Gilead Sciences helps connect these girls with positive women role models and mentors through our virtual mentoring program, Meet + Mentor.

Meet the Watsons

As a mother of three young girls, Angie Watson wants to give her daughters opportunities that she didn’t have in her youth.

“Dreaming was a luxury that we didn’t have,” she said. “We didn’t realize you could have a dream and that you could achieve it. We were never told you can be whatever you wanted to be.”

Despite graduating with honors, her guidance counselor told her she couldn’t go to college because she didn’t have her parents’ support.

[bctt tweet=”“When I became a mom, especially to three girls, I wanted them to fully believe that the sky’s the limit. I don’t want them to feel limited because of finances that you can’t achieve your goals, because that’s not right and it’s not fair.”” username=”iplaylikeagirl”]

Sadly, she said, education is not free, which is frustrating when you’re limited.

“Financially, we’re unable to do all the things I want to be able to do with and for my girls,” she said. “That’s why programs like this mean so much.”

Not only are her two oldest daughters, Dasani and Arianna, participants in Play Like a Girl’s program, but recently, Dasani was awarded a laptop and Arianna a tablet through Amazon’s #DeliveringSmiles initiative.

Although both girls were given school-assigned laptops, the devices are limited and must be given back at the end of the semester. Their new devices will allow the girls to pursue their passions and interests year-round. For Dasani, that means learning how to code and keeping in touch with the study group she started. For Arianna, it’s pursuing her interest in weather science and participating in Play Like a Girl’s virtual Meet + Mentor program whenever she wants.

Access to technology does much more than keep the Watson girls connected to the outside world; it gives them the opportunity to pursue their passions and expose them to new growth opportunities.

“I want to help them achieve their goals,” she said. “All I really want for them is to know that they can dream and there’s no limit — that they can feed their passion and they can be whatever they want to be and that they can be happy and fulfilled.”