Using the simplest basic technology, the charity enables parents to record bedtime stories for their children on a CD or DVD. The stories are then digitally enhanced by specially trained prisoners acting as editors, who add music and sound effects before the finished product is sent to the family and helping to maintain the all important bond between parent and child.
The judges felt the initiative, which also operates in women's prisons, was a simple yet ingenious way to use the internet to improve lives of families where a parent is in prison and was a worthy winner of the "Be part of IT" prize of the e-Inclusion awards.
Speaking after the awards ceremony at the Digital Agenda Assembly in Brussels, founder and Chief Executive Sharon Berry said:
"Prisoners' children are the forgotten victims of crime. Over 160,000 of them each year in the UK alone. Winning this fantastic award will highlight their plight and hopefully encourage more prisons throughout the EU to copy our model. We couldn't be more thrilled".
Other European winners recognised for their IT skills in helping reduce exclusion and promote job prospects include:
Elton Kalica who arrived in Italy from Albania, learned ICT skills and turned his life around, leading to a University degree and a good job. He won the 'I am Part of IT' prize for an individual.
Siemon Dekelver, collected the 'I am Part of IT' prize for organisations on behalf of WAI-NOT (Belgium) which promotes the use of internet for people with learning difficulties. WAI-NOT provides a website based on pictograms for people who cannot read and who require accessible and understandable web pages. The initiative has enabled Siemon Dekelver, who has Down's syndrome, to surf the internet, write pictogram emails and chat with his friends and family. He also uses mobile technology that supports him when travelling on his own. Siemon Dekelver started using the WAI-NOT website and later became the ambassador.
Barcelona Activa (Spain) and Information Society Development Foundation (FRSI) (Poland) shared the 'Be part of IT' prize for larger organisations or development funds. FRSI uses local libraries to provide connectivity and training for disadvantaged communities in Poland. Barcelona Activa actively promotes ICT skills and tailors training to foster employability and competitiveness through courses it organises on its premises and in libraries.
The e-Inclusion awards were first run in 2008 by the European Commission to help discover organisations and individuals across Europe who champion new technology and who harness the potential of the internet to improve lives.
For more information: see e-Inclusion awards or Digital Agenda.