By Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry
It can be easy to forget that there are many people in this world without access to the internet. The digital divide is, in fact, vast. I recently came across a UNICEF video that told the story of 10 young children who gained internet access for the first time after fleeing from their homes in a war-torn country in the Central African Republic. Separated from their families and confused about what was happening, the children searched the internet for relatives as well as answers about why they were forced to leave in the first place. They searched for connections to their home – both in the form of people and information.
I encourage you to watch the video here on YouTube.
The video is a powerful reminder of the impact the internet can have on a person, on communities, and on the world around us. It’s particularly special to see this impact through the eyes of children who are experiencing it for the first time.
I shared this video with my colleagues on the Public Interest Registry team, who are just as passionate as I am about the internet and extending access to the estimated 3.7 billion people who still need to get online. It’s inspirational to us all, and underscores why we work each day to provide people and nonprofits around the world with a trusted online home for their causes through the .org, .ngo and .ong domains.
We applaud the organisations working on the front lines to bring internet access to those without. Even in light of recent challenges facing UNICEF, the work they are doing to expand internet access around the world is commendable and will help nonprofits and NGOs reach underserved populations. For all mission-based organisations and the people who need them, the internet can be a transformational force for change. We are committed to supporting people and organisations around the world tap into the power of the internet by providing education and resources on how to use the internet effectively, and by providing a secure and stable online platform for advancing their missions.
As a nonprofit organization, Public Interest Registry also contributes funds and support to our founding nonprofit organization, the Internet Society (ISOC), which promotes the development of the internet as a resource to enrich people’s lives and to advance good in society. Importantly, ISOC is an active advocate for internet access, infrastructure and training in emerging nations and is contributing significantly to connecting the unconnected. We are proud to support ISOC in this work.
As illustrated by the personal stories of those who are exploring the world online the first time, the internet is a powerful connector. But bringing internet access to all corners of the world is a daunting challenge and there are many pieces to the puzzle to ensure that people do not remain in the dark. Public Interest Registry will continue to shine a light on the significant work being done to make global internet access a reality. Through continued collaboration with these organisations and initiatives we look forward to a day when the power of the internet is available to all who wish to use it.