Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Christmas morning as a 5-year old.

That’s the closest comparison I can think of when trying to describe the look I saw on 85 Rwandan kids’ faces this afternoon as we handed them their new XO laptops. It really was incredible to see the amazement come out as they booted up what was now their first trip into the information age. During the next few months, and then for the rest of their lives, they will be able to progress like never before.

Rwanda is quickly beginning its ascent into being the foremost technological country in Africa, and is committed to making it happen in all areas of the population, including in primary schools. This investment in the future is inspiring, and was seen in the children’s excitement as we handed them this new instrument. Right off, they began testing the XO’s capabilities; taking pictures, searching for more information in the Wikipedia activity, and drawing pictures of their houses. Until now, the children have been entirely dependent on others for their education, awaiting instruction from the overworked, underpaid teachers. With the introduction of the XO, a child can supplement the education given them in school with their own interest-driven activities, with a healthy dose of problem solving, hands-on discovery.

At the UNGANA Foundation, we appreciate this refreshing confidence in the future. We are devoted to making this endeavor sustainable. Education is not effective with a “flash-in-the-pan” mentality, but must be seen as a process that will continue indefinitely.

With that in mind, we will continue to work with the ULK Primary School, offering them tools and preparing them for the time when they will be able to proceed on their own, learning things that we aren’t capable of teaching.

Coy Whittier
Communications Associate
The UNGANA Foundation

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