MIRC Broadband Success: Somali Center and PCs for People make connections in Willmar

On our tour of MIRC Communities we learned about two programs that are working together to bridge the digital gap in Willmar – first the Somali Women Center. It is the go-to place for recent arrivals to Willmar from Somalia. They provide a wide range of services from legal advice, English lessons, medical support and now they have a small computer lab and broadband.

Lul Yusuf is the heart of the Center. While her background is in healthcare she seems to take on many of the tasks. Her husband work in IT at a local company; so he too is busy with Center tech support. Lul said there were about 2000 Somalis in the community with three to four more families arriving each month. She offers support and through a local chapter of PCs for People she is sometimes able to send folks home with a computer too.

We heard from the Stiff family who operates the PCs for People locally. They have been working on the effort for about three months and have already been able to process and donate 60 computers – and that’s with no advertising! The Stiffs welcomed the opportunity to give back to the community – although the decision to get involved with PCs for People also helped them to move from a home-based business to a shop front in town.

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