Since our last report, we have had many exciting updates at PEPY's Future is Bright Lab and Library! Through the support of our partners Irish Aid in Vietnam and your generous donations, we were able to purchase 3 additional computers, storage units, and accessories for our library. This brings our total to 14 computers available for rent so far! While we still have additional computers in transit in the United States, this is an incredible start and has made a huge impact on youth being able to complete work and their homework assignments as Cambodia moves into another lockdown.
Dear PEPY Community,
We are thrilled to report that, through the support of many generous donors and our computer development partners at KOOMPI, PEPY's Future is Bright Lab and Library was officially launched in November. We purchased furniture pieces, a desktop, 10 KOOMPI computers, and tech accessories that enabled 10 scholars to rent laptops to support their studies in November.
IT access, especially computers, has always been a major barrier for education in Siem Reap, Cambodia, but, social distance learning, as a result of COVID-19, made the issue far more pronounced. Computer labs for students outside of their allotted class times are not available at our universities. Scholars with smartphones and PEPY tablets were struggling to complete their assignments and follow their online university courses. When several students reached out to us and told us they believed their grades would drop. As a result, we knew that we needed to act urgently.
While we wait for computers to arrive from the United States, our partners and computer manufacturers at KOOMPI graciously sold us 10 computers with a reduced cost that would fit our Bright lab budget. In addition, they provided training to students so that they could get used to KOOMPI computers and their applications (just like Apple iOS and Windows computers, KOOMPI has a different system that would look new and potentially confusing to new users). We are so glad to provide quick and effective solutions to the students.
In the meantime, we are still working on developing the Bright Lab as a functioning library and club while we respond to participants' immediate needs. We hope to have a total of 40 computers available for rent and to draft more learning materials for youth. For right now, we are happy to start renting a computer and work on our library management skills.
We have selected Evergreen Library software to help our team track the computer and training material used in realtime and provide each participant with a unique individual login to check items in and out. Not only will this help us be efficient as more computers and materials arrive, but it also gives us the opportunity to learn a new admin application that applies to various careers involved in high-level cataloging.
We are also partnering with organizations Team4Tech and Revivn, who will supply us with over 15 additional computers and training material for the library in 2021. This process has been challenging as many of our partners are based in foreign countries, and shipping computer is not possible during the pandemic. Once travel is possible, one of our trusted donors will be bringing the computers from Revivn to our office!!! We look forward to sending you some exciting updates on this soon as schools re-open and we can hold group sessions again.
Dear PEPY Community,
We are very excited to update you on the developments of our Future is Bright Computer Lab! We have been able to set up a computer check-in/out station in our ICT Classroom that will be monitored by our ICT Teacher. The main desktop will have training applications and documentation along with the record/waitlist for the computers. We are working on a software application to make our desktop login very similar to public libraries where students can enter into the library check-in/out system based on an ID number. We are in the process of looking at these applications and reaching out to similar programs in other countries to see what the best options are!
Our goal is to pilot this program within the next 2 months starting with any city-based alumni that want to have more access to computers to increase their IT skills. This can include recently unemployed students/alumni from the COVID-19 crisis or alumni who have a personal interest or desire to diversify their skill sets. We will be able to purchase approximately 3-5 second-hand computers in August with the funding received so far, along with a few printed/online textbooks focused on various advanced computer topics and a computer storage bureau.
During this month, we reached out to NGOs and tech groups in Phnom Penh to find any and all training materials or applications available in basic English and/or Khmer that we could add to our Future is Bright Lab to help youth begin their self-learning. The main desktop will be equipped with everything we can collect along with our staff’s Khmer lessons they are adapting from more challenging English courses we found online. First, we will be focusing on giving youth the resources and tools to improve their skills of teaching online, web development, coding, and Microsoft Office. We will move into map making and cartography software this year as well.
The whole team is very excited with the prospect of bringing a tech library to Siem Reap as IT access is so limited and Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, is often favored for IT funding. Our alumni and IT students want to be competitive with their Phnom Penh counterparts. We all see this as a fantastic opportunity for us to improve as an organization while eventually improving IT programs in Siem Reap by producing future IT educators and collaborating with education institutions over the next few years. We cannot wait for our youth to start renting the computers and learning what applications they are most interested in.
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