Breaking the Digital Divide with the Navacup Foundation

Understanding the growth of technology is essential to our future. The NAVACUP Foundation, founded by Ganesh Navaratnarajah, hosted their annual golf tournament on June 15th this year. The day was filled with various teams filing in early in the morning to get out and play golf. The day carried on with lunch, raffles, and a silent auction. Followed by multiple motivational guest speakers including, Owen Charters, the CEO of Boy’s and Girl’s Club Canada.

Their goal is to raise funds to purchase laptops for youth in developing communities. In 2009, the foundation worked solely with the East Scarborough Boys and Girls club for the first 5 years, and expanded organically to provide their work to the Albion and Peel Boys and Girls Club.

To ensure the laptops are going to the youth who need it most, the NAVACUP team has worked with the students of the IMANI program at U of T to act as mentors to provide guidance for youth placed in troubling situations. To be fair, the youth must meet specific criteria before applying to win one of the laptops (i.e. have never entered the contest before, do not have computers at home etc.).

Navaratnarajah grew up in Orton Park and wanted to give back to the community that made him who he was. He was always proud of where he came from and he mentioned that

“I came from a hard background of bullying and no hand holding, this taught me the value of hard work. In grade 10, I took apart a computer and put it back together, and this is when I truly became interested in science.”

Many youth in our communities lack opportunities due to economic setbacks and lack of educational tools. Having access to computers at home gives both the youth and their family access to explore many more opportunities. Society relies on the internet and use of computers extensively, making it almost impossible to do a lot without it. Navacup is opening a gateway for the youth who might have never had it.

Navaratnarajah has taken a major step in the direction needed to break what he calls, the “digital divide” many of us face. Continuing to provide youth with laptops, NAVACUP has many plans for the future, including teaching youth about coding and various other computer techniques that can help them in both their personal life as well as their career. Navaratnarajah also touched on the issue of having a lack of women in the engineering field. NAVACUP is working to find a way to make science more appealing to a variety of people, including young women.

“Engineering is so powerful because once you have that degree, you open many doors for yourself.” he indicated.

NAVACUP has made a significant impact. At the Annual General Meeting in 2018, for the ESBGC, Navaratnarajah received an award in recognition for the work that he has done for the community. In about 9 years, the organization has raised $80,000 and 230 laptops. Looking at its impact, if each person who receives a laptop has five friends, the organization has helped over 1000 youth.

Thank you Navacup for serving the East Scarborough Boys and Girls club by providing potential, growth, and dedication to our youth!

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