Voices From the Lab: “It’s a blessing to be here.”

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Linda always wanted to be a minister—she almost went to divinity school—but was never able to fulfill her goal. So she found a way to preach her beliefs in less-official but still expressive methods. “I make anything,” she says. “Magnets, book marks, name cards.” She holds up a green laminated card, a Driver’s Prayer she wrote, designed and made herself. “Everything I do, I do for Him,” she says. “You do it for you, it won’t last.”

With this attitude, Linda never lets a barrier limit her; technology access is just a minor obstacle. Linda began using the open computer lab at Bethel’s Place, a nonprofit site of Bethel’s Family, to create a website for House of Je’ Rapha, her line of handmade religious icons. Technology For All’s Program Specialist Matt helped her research, create, and design her website. “He’s an angel,” she says fondly. Since she wouldn’t have regular access to a computer, the Internet, or the knowledge to create a commercial website, using the lab is “a blessing.”

Her work has spread throughout the world: she used to sell handcrafts at Army bases in Louisiana and Texas. Soldiers carried religious tokens throughout entire careers, and her old customers still remember her. “Someone just got married, or had a newborn, and they call asking for a name card for them.” Her e-commerce website and her new Facebook fan page will be a huge help for those trying to find her, she says.

It will also help her conduct business despite her new disability: Linda is a recent amputee. Having lost her foot to complications from diabetes, she must learn how to be mobile in a completely new way, making technology that much more instrumental in connecting with her clients. This doesn’t stop her—it doesn’t even slow her down. Her work and her beliefs give her a purpose, she explains. And since publishing her website marks the end of her rehabilitation, she’s ready to get back to work. “It is a learning process, but I welcome the challenge.”

Bethel’s Place is a nonprofit organization supporting financial literacy, adult education and other community needs in southwest Houston, Texas. For more information, call (713) 728-4445 or visit at 12525 Fondren Road.

Source: Technology For All

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