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Universal access to the web
The government and civil society have teamed up to bridge the digital divide for the millions of Brazilians. The Rede Marista de Solidariedade—a Porto Alegre-based non-profit organization focused on social inclusion and solidarity through social projects—seeks to help bridge the digital gap in Brazil by promoting universal access to the web. New in the community of Nova Santa Marta—located in the Rio Grande do Sul city of Santa Maria—the region with the lowest human development indexes of the state, the Marista network established a Center for Digital Inclusion which focuses on areas such as meta-recycling, free robotics and tele-centers. The initiative was first implemented in a Computer Refurbishment Center in Brazil in 2005 with the support of the municipality of Porto Alegre, the Hospital Conceição healthcare group, development organization Avina Foundation and drinks producer Vonpar. The work carried out by the Computer Refurbishment Center has so far benefited thousands of users in tele-centers and schools with the donation of refurbished computers. The project offers training in hardware and free software to about 100 young apprentices from among the socially vulnerable populations.