Rodrigo Baggio closing digital divide in Rio

Americas Now

Rodrigo Baggio closing digital divide in RioRodrigio Baggio leading computer training class in a Rio de Janeiro favela

This week’s “Game Changer” is Rodrigo Baggio, a man who discovered his first two passions early in life at twelve years old: “Technology and my work with street kids.”

Baggio wanted to do something about the neglect residents in Rio de Janeiro were suffering from for centuries.

In 1995, Baggio founded the Center for Digital Inclusion, CDI, in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Morro de Providencia was the first shantytown to have free computer training and access to the internet. His mission: to fight what he calls the “digital apartheid.”

Baggio used technology as a tool to help those marginalized by society. At first many doubted him, saying he was crazy. However, today CDI has built more than 700 community centers in ten countries.

The CDI is giving more than 1.5 million people access to the web, and people are thankful. “The internet helps me feel useful, feel that I am somebody, makes me feel up to date,” says Maria Dolores Otero, a 71-year-old student of CDI.

Baggio believes technology has to be an instrument for social transformation and integration. “Only 35% of the humanity has internet connection so we can see a kind of digital apartheid where 65% of the human beings on our planet are digitally excluded,” he says.

He is in constant search for new ways of using technology. Take a look at this week’s “Game Changer,” Rodrigo Baggio.