Mohammad Karim, 34, was 12 years old when the government in Myanmar shut down the school he and other Rohingya children were attending. He says he was always No. 1 in his class. He reminisces that if he had been able to complete his education, he could have been a doctor or an engineer.


His wife, Minatt, 26, never had the chance to attend school.


On Friday, the Karims and their three children sat down to three brand new laptops at the offices of Interfaith Action of Central Texas, the nonprofit organization that nominated them to the Statesman’s Season for Caring program.


Each year, the Statesman selects 12 families to feature and helps hundreds of others served by local nonprofits through donations that the community makes. Since 1999, the program has given local nonprofit organizations more than $13.2 million.


This year, an anonymous family donated new laptops, including the Microsoft Office software, to all the featured families, one for each school-age child and one for the parents.


For the Karims, that meant setting up email and passwords for the first time, and walking through all the things the computer can do.


As Jannat, 7, was playing on her computer, she was teaching sister Mariyam, 2, the numbers on the keyboard. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ..." She counted as she pushed each number.


"I don’t know how to use a computer," she said. "I only know how to use letters, but my brother can teach me."


Her brother is 6-year-old Hashim, who has computers in his class at school. He’s going to help the whole family learn.


Their parents intend to use these computers to study English. They have been taking classes through iACT, and Minatt Karim has been using her phone to practice. IACT intends to use Season for Caring donations to load English as a Second Language software.


"I will practice for English class," Minatt Karim said.


The Karims see the education their kids are getting through their elementary school and the access to technology their kids have. They could be engineers or doctors, Mohammad Karim said.


"I see my kids; it’s a very good life," he said, as he teared up.


The Karims are in the process of building an even better life. Mohammad Karim, who has been working as a dishwasher at a restaurant, has just been hired to drive a taxi. It will mean more money and more opportunity to attend English classes. He also will be conversing in English with more people.


Mohammad Karim is interested in learning welding, and iACT has a connection for him to become a paid apprentice, but first he has to get his high school equivalency degree. He will start classes in spring through Goodwill.


"Everywhere it’s very hard for an education," he said, but not in the U.S. "We are lucky."


Several of the other Season for Caring families also would like to improve their education.


Kevin Moreno, 23, who has been supporting his family since he was 16, would like to go to college but will need help with tuition. His brother, Dylan, 19, is a freshman at the University of Texas and needs help with books and fees. (Foundation Communities, 512-447-2026, foundcom.org)


Fatima Babiker, 33, came to the United States two years ago from Egypt with her four children. There she worked in a beauty salon. Here she is cleaning houses. She needs tuition to get her cosmetology license. (Caritas of Austin 512-646-1277, caritasofaustin.org)


Alicia Gonzales, 40, is in her last semester of nursing school. She has tuition covered, but needs help with living expenses for her three children and her mother, who is on dialysis. (Capital IDEA, 512-457-8610, capitalidea.org)


Maria Hekmati, 42, came to the U.S. with her four children and husband Ahmad Kambiz, 42, who was threatened after working for U.S. aide organizations. She would like to go to nursing school. Her husband, who has experience working in finance with nonprofits, is working as a security guard and would like career assistance to work in accounting. (Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, interfaithtexas.org)


Amina Makamba, 34, who came to the U.S. from Congo three years ago, has received her bachelor’s degree for doing equivalent work in Africa. She would like to pursue a master’s degree in business administration. That will help her better support her 3-year-old triplet daughters and reunite with her husband and two sons. She needs help with tuition. (Foundation Communities, 512-447-2026, foundcom.org)


For the Karims, the computers and taking classes through iACT are the first steps in reducing their language barriers. Their biggest needs are living room furniture and a washer and dryer. (Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, interfaithtexas.org)