Maria das Graças had never touched a computer before the Todos Conectados program launched in her community. A resident of rural Betânia do Piauí in northeastern Brazil, Maria always wanted to pursue education, but both in-person learning and internet access were unavailable to her. Through Viasat’s partnership with the Novo Sertão Institute, the Todos Conectados program provided digital literacy resources, internet access, and a laptop for her to use.
Since 2022, Viasat’s global social impact team has collaborated with employees in Viasat’s Brazil office and the Nova Sertao Institute to execute the Todos Conectados program in northeastern Brazil. It provides internet access and digital inclusion programs in remote areas. These areas have little infrastructure that is suitable for today’s technology, which makes conventional internet difficult to install. When schools closed during the pandemic, many children needed to walk 15 miles to access the internet and participate in virtual learning.
Since the program began, four remote locations in Betânia do Piauí have received internet access, directly impacting more than 500 people.
“When Viasat first contacted me about the project I didn’t believe it – it seemed too good to be true,” said Jose Carlos, president of the Novo Sertão Institute. “With Viasat’s help, we’re generating social transformation and bettering the lives of hundreds of people in this region.”
Viasat’s partnerships go beyond transactional to building meaningful relationships with nonprofit organizations where we know we can have a sustained impact. In addition to providing internet, Viasat supported the Todos Conectados program by donating computers and a grant to support the local staff.
“The pillars of our organization are education and technology, arts and culture, and workforce development,” Carlos said. “These areas are fundamental for a fair society that generates wealth and opportunities for all.”
Digital inclusion programs are an essential piece of that puzzle. New technology cannot have a sustained impact without training people how to use it and providing them with resources to pass that knowledge to others. Most of the 50 graduates of the most recent Todos Conectados class had never accessed the internet through a computer before, so course material needed to begin with how to use a keyboard. From there, the students learned basic computer concepts and tools for the job market.
“We know the strength that projects conducted by Novo Sertão have in these communities,” said Leandro Gaunszer, general manager of Viasat Brazil. “We are honored to help their social and economic development with our capabilities and the expertise of our professionals.”