Hello from Zanzibar!
Since our last update in December we have been hard at work expanding our IT course offerings, adding equipment, and maintaining the existing equipment within the IT classroom. Our students’ knowledge continues to expand, and their newfound IT skills have been put to work on other school projects and their business plans. We are happy to report that we have received an additional $700 for the IT classroom, which we have already put to good use. We are excited about a number of upcoming fundraising opportunities through GlobalGiving and we hope to raise the remaining funds for the IT classroom in the next few months. There are exciting things happening as a result of your generosity and we’re very happy to share them with you today!
As we reported in December, there were a number of students waiting for the launch of our Intermediate IT classes. We are delighted to share that in the beginning of February we launched our Intermediate IT course and began our second round of Beginning IT courses. The IT classes at Welcome Ideas are some of the most requested classes and we have been able to easily fill all of the available openings in each class. In fact, now that we have been able to enroll more students in our IT courses, the IT classroom is full of students even when class is not in session. Students have been using the computers to write their business plans, prepare assignments for other classes, and practice some of the skills they’ve learned in class.
Our biggest limitation currently is the number of computers available for students (both within class and after class). We still have space for 13 additional computers which would double our capacity and allow us to consolidate duplicate classes, offer additional classes, and train more students.
Students in our classes continue to improve their typing skills, with many of the students doubling their words typed per minute over the course of the last few months. Each of our classes offers a typing component to help further develop the students’ efficient use of a keyboard. It’s been exciting to see the students go from using only 2 fingers to hunt and peck on the keyboard, to comfortably using all of their fingers to compose documents using the keyboard.
In addition to improvements made in typing skills our Intermediate IT students are creating mail merges in Word using Excel Spreadsheets. They’ve been practicing writing client letters and promotions using their mail merge capabilities and they have been excited to see how they can integrate data across the Microsoft Office platform. Our Beginning IT students have successfully mastered the use of all of the key Microsoft Word formatting tools and have begun learning how to write basic formulas/functions within Excel. While some of the students are still building their confidence in using a computer, we have a good number of students who have been able to unleash their creativity and design some amazing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. If you could see these students blossom like I have, you’d have no doubt that your donation was being put to very good use.
The most requested topic within IT is web design. We have a number of students who are starting or expanding their own small tourism businesses and web design is not just something that student are interested in, it’s something that would have immediate practical impact for a number of our students. We are working on securing internet for the school, so that we can either offer a stand-alone web design course or incorporate it into some of our existing courses.
In addition, we are currently offering a Tourism & the Sharing Economy course for which we would like to utilize the IT classroom in order to facilitate hands on learning with platforms like AirBNB, Uber, EatWith, etc. This hands-on learning would provide the students with valuable experience and expertise as they work on opening their own small tourism businesses.
Equipment Purchases & Maintenance
We used some of the $700 we received since the last update to purchase a projector dedicated to the IT classroom. Prior to this purchase, we only had one projector in the entire school which had to be shared between the classes. When the projector was in use by another course, students would have to huddle around the teacher’s computer to watch the day’s lesson and demo. This was less than ideal, and the new Epson projector we purchased has a great picture which is bright enough for the students to see even on the sunniest days of the Zanzibar summer.
In addition to the purchase of the projector we have had additional electricity costs to operate the air conditioning as Zanzibar has been experiencing some exceedingly hot summer days. We have also had to repair the air conditioning unit which hadn’t been operating properly. Now, with a new projector and working AC, the IT classroom is a great learning environment for our students!
There is just a little over $7,000 needed to purchase the last remaining computers for the IT classroom. After purchasing the projector and repairing the air conditioning, the remaining funds have been set aside but are not quite enough to purchase another computer. Each computer is approximately $500 and although we would like to purchase the remaining 13 computers all at once, we will purchase them individually as we raise the funds so that we can increase the capacity of each class.
If you would like to continue your support of Welcome Ideas and our IT Classroom, GlobalGiving will be offering a matching campaign called “Little x Little” which will begin on March 23rd. Be sure to check your emails from GlobalGiving for more details.
Thank you again for your support of this project. Your generosity has helped our students tremendously and we look forward to the next time we can update you about all of the amazing things our students have done as a result of your support.