2013 was a great year for our work in Tanzania. AfricAid has installed nine low cost computer labs serving over 8,000 students! These computer labs are making a tremendous impact in the lives of these students. The world is becoming increasingly dependant upon access to such technology for business and social purposes. Most Tanzanians have never used a computer. After completion of their studies, they join the work force as a young adult and often have a difficult time learning how to use a computer while simutaneously producing quality work. Basic computer skills such as typing and use of Microsoft products is extremely important in almost any business. If more schools in Tanzania have computer labs students will be more prepared for their careers in the future. Many of AfricAid's partnering Kisa schools also provide limited access to the internet at the computer labs, giving students the ability to tap into the knowledge and potential of the World Wide Web! AfricAid is utilizing this by facilitating cross cultural dialogue between students in Tanzania and students and sponsors in the United States. This dialogue helps both parties share, grow and learn together!
We are excited to report that the computer labs that AfricAid has installed in six secondary schools in the Arusha region of Tanzania are now being used by our Kisa Scholars to communicate with their sponsors in North America! As the Scholars -- girls in their last two years of high school who are enrolled in our leadership training and entrepreneurship program--- have become increasingly familiar with computer technology, they are now beginning to use the computers for far more than just their school work.
After researching the best way for Scholars and sponsors to communicate with each other, AfricAid has set up a private Facebook group that allows sponsors to learn about the general activities of the Kisa Scholars and their curriculum. TheFacebook group also enables private communications between Scholars and sponsors, within the parameters that have been set up by the mentors of the Scholars. This will help the sponsors know that their Scholar is thriving and learning from being a member of the Kisa program. At the same time, the Scholars are uplifted by the communications they receive from a caring person, school group, book club, etc., across the ocean. In the face of the huge obstacles that challenge young women in Tanzania, it is a true morale-booster to know that someone, even thousands of miles away, is rooting for you to keep moving forward!
The Facebook group will also allow the Scholars to take part in a communication/information exchange with their sponsors that uses the AfricAid curriculum that was developed in order to help our Tanzanian students and their sponsors learn more about life in Tanzania and North America, respectively. Each month a particular question is discussed, such as who are the leaders of your community or what type media impacts you the most.
We’re so proud of our Kisa Scholars and the progress that they are making with the help of the computer labs that our supporters are making possible!
These days, we walk into any elementary school or middle school or high school and computers are almost guaranteed to have some presence. We grow up expecting to know how to operate a computer. It is no longer a luxury, but almost a necessity. However, this is not the global picture.
In Tanzania, computer training / studies are not offered at all schools and often they are optional. Therefore, it is only a rare few who grow up and learn how to access this digital world. Computers can be used to expand our horizons and perspective beyond the four walls of the classroom. They expand the meaning of learning and grant the users a global perspective. Digital literacy is a crucial skill in the current job market and in order to be a competitive candidate these are necessary skills. With this perspective, it is vital to be aware that not everyone has such access and availability to computers in this near digital age.
Children in Tanzania lack many resources, including books and computers, but through this program established by AfricAid computer labs are granting access to this new world to those that are otherwise limited. The labs we have introduced to Tanzania thsu far have been low-cost, low-energy NComputing Technology and we only hope to provide more!
Dear AfricAid supporters,
We wanted to take a moment to share about one of our recently completely computer labs. AfricAid is pleased to announce that Orkeeswa Secondary school in Monduli (a small town outside Arusha) is now equipped with a fully- functioning computer lab. Orkeeswa is an isolated school up in a hilly region and hard to get to in the rainy season -- they even have elephants walk through the school area now and then. Can you imagine!
While it is a beautiful location, such a remote location has created many challenges for the school. An on-site computer lab is a huge deal and now 250 students have access to computer technology and are beginning to build critical skills that will equip them for a brighter future!
Asante sana for your support!
Happy 2013 to you! I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your amazing support to bring computer labs to secondary schools in northern Tanzana. The computer labs enable a whole community to learn life-changing computer skills and provide valuable opportunities to learn and grow.
We are able to install a computer lab for just $5,000 U.S. using innovative technology that uses a desk-top as a server to run 10 independent work stations. We also run our labs on Linux to avoid problems with viruses that cripple many computer labs in Africa.
In 2012, we completed 5 new labs. We are planning 3 for the first half of 2013.
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Interim Executive Director