Computer lab helps slums in Costa Rica

By February 4, 2011

Costa Rica (MNN) — While Mission Aviation Fellowship is known for its unique aviation ministry, their Learning Technologies program is also having an impact. This unique ministry of MAF is having a profound impact on the lives of people around the world, including young people in the slums of Costa Rica.

MAF-Learning Technologies (MAF-LT) enables Bible and ministry skills training for church leaders in the developing world by providing technology, expertise, consulting services, and synergism in digital publishing and distance education.

Brendan Blowers is in Costa Rica providing expertise in that area, but also expanding the work to reach young people. Blowers is working in the La Carpio slums "where we can deliver some connectivity and some very needed computer classes to people who might not otherwise get that opportunity."

Blowers was able to help an existing computer lab by removing viruses from 10 computers, networking them, and installing software which allows him to teach computer classes in a classroom environment.

The slum is made up of primarily Nicaraguan immigrants with little education, explains Blowers. They target their MAF reaches out to the children who are interested in this technology. Blowers believes this type of training is attractive. "When we spend time with them and we do these courses and give them a little guidance in these learning labs, we're hoping we can point them in a good direction and help them use technology for productive purposes."

Blowers says while computers are a great draw, "the computer lab is part of a larger ministry. They have good Christians camps that we take them to, and soccer teams that they're a part of." This is just another tool God is using to expose young people to the Gospel.

"We're providing an important service to the community educationally. And then we can also use it during other parts of the day, like an internet café," Blowers says. "You pay around $1 an hour to use the internet, to actually cover some of its own costs."

It's now a valuable service to the community. According to Blowers, many of these students are helping another computer center re-establish itself in much the same way.

Prayer is needed. Funding is also necessary to help keep the computers up-to-date and functioning. Blowers says they have another need. "We have the labs completely equipped. But what we lack is some presence — some missionary presence down there with the time to teach these kids and spend time with them."

According to Blowers, MAF wants to open a similar type of lab in Islavenado Island, a rural area of Costa Rica. Pray that God would provide the funding needed for this project. Learn more about MAF at


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