What an exciting two months it has been for the Intel Education Service Corps! We launched the first pilot project in September when six employees from Intel’s Technology & Manufacturing Group (three from the US and three from Vietnam) went to work in two orphanages in Vietnam, training the children and staff how to use Intel-powered classmate PCs to connect with other kids around the world. We were supporting the work of a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Orphans Overseas, and they made a very inspiring video of the project while our volunteers were there. See if it makes you cry when you watch it, or maybe it’s just me! The Orphans Overseas staff became our heroes as we witnessed their amazing work with the children in Vietnam, so it was a big thrill to hear from the project coordinator after our team finished their work that he was “the number one fan of the Intel Education Service Corps.” Our employees loved it too, with one commenting that it was “the best experience in my 18 years at Intel!”
While the pilot team of volunteers was in Vietnam, we put out a call for applications to Intel employees at large, to see who would be interested in supporting the next three projects we had planned this fall, in Bangladesh, Kenya and Egypt. We were shocked to receive 200 applications in less than two weeks for just 15 spots! Witnessing employees’ enthusiasm for the program was thrilling, but it was brutal trying to select just 15 volunteers from the awesome pool of applicants. When I read the application essays, I was amazed to discover all of things Intel employees across the company are already doing to improve education in their communities and around the world. I came away convinced of the need to scale the program to enable all of these talented Intel employees to participate.
The next team of Intel Education Service Corps volunteers to deploy was a group of four Intel employees (three from the US and one from India) who went to Bangladesh on October 12th to work with Save the Children USA to train teachers and students in two schools in the rural Meherpur district how to use classmate PCs. This team only had a few weeks to prepare, as they needed to deliver their training before the school year ends in Bangladesh at the end of October. It was great to see the group of experienced engineers, MBAs, and PhDs come together quickly to develop fun activities they would implement with the teachers and students, and then read their moving blogs about the impact they were able to have while they were in Bangladesh. I know they worked hard because they were sending me instant messages at 2am Bangladesh time as they prepared for their activities the following day. I could not have agreed more when I heard back from the Save the Children Deputy Director that the team was “motivated and genuinely concerned for the children of Bangladesh.”
We have the third team of volunteers in Kenya right now. They flew over last week and spent the first part of their stay working with a local NGO called Kageno on Rusinga Island. Enabled by a $45,000 donation from a group of children in my hometown of Menlo Park, California who organized their own NGO called Kids Against Poverty, Kageno purchased a solar-powered mobile classmate PC lab that they are using with the schools on Rusinga Island. The Intel volunteers helped train the teachers and students in how to use the classmate PCs. Now, in their second week in Kenya, they are working with the NGO Orphans Overseas to set up classmate PCs in the Karibu Centre, which serves teenage mothers and young children, offering them access to educational resources that would otherwise be out of reach. Here’s the report on the Karibu Centre’s Facebook page from the project director after the team’s first day of work: “Intel has arrived and has been tirelessly working away at setting up our new computers. This team is amazing, not only for their work but I’m inspired by them as people. We couldn’t ask for a better fit with our goals and mission. Today they’ve begun training with our staff and tomorrow we begin live training with the women and children of Karibu Centre. This week is flying by.” Man, it makes me happy to read reports like that! And proud of my Intel colleagues for their dedication.
Our fourth team will go to work with CARE in Egypt in December, where they will help set-up 500 classmate PCs in 20 schools to serve over 13,000 students, over half of whom are girls. The project is part of CARE’s Power Within program which focuses on connecting girls around the world and training them to be leaders. Stay tuned to hear more about this project in December!
It looks like we are going to be able to send at least 10 more teams of Intel Education Service Corps volunteers to work with NGOs in 2010, so I’m looking forward to witnessing even greater things from our talented Intel employees who are eager to make a difference. It’s a chance for us to truly live out our Intel slogan – “It’s not just what we make. It’s what we make possible.”