The Intel Education Service Corp is in Uganda and sharing their first week of training. Uganda is one of the five countries where talented Intel employees will be traveling in October and November to work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to support the deployment of Intel-powered classmate PCs for disadvantaged children. Carla Rodriguez, a financial analyst in Intel’s Data Center Group, will be relaying her team’s experiences in working with BRAC. Meet the team, learn about their initial experiences and check back for new posts from Carla.*********************************** Unlocking Potential One Click at A Time by Carla Rodriguez Nursing Mothers, Typing Puzzles and lots of learning! Team WEBALE (Thank You in Luganda) finally got a chance to meet face to face after several weeks of phone meetings and lots of pre-planning. Twenty flight hours and 10 time zones later – everyone was excited to finally arrive in Uganda! Wonderful Team WEBALE is comprised of Enrique Acuna (Costa Rica), Abraham Hernandez (Costa Rica), Carla Rodriguez (Oregon), Paul Bourgeouis (Oregon), Ellis Ragan (Oregon) and Joya Chatterjee (Santa Clara) The first week of our stay will be spent working with BRAC – an NGO in Kampala (Capital city of Uganda) whose vision is “to create a world free from all forms of exploitation and discrimination, where everyone has the opportunity to realize their potential”. Specifically, the program we will be supporting is “ELA – Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents”. ELA’s goal is to improve the quality of life for vulnerable adolescent girls, by creating a space of their own and developing a set of skills so that they can live and grow as confident, empowered, self-reliant individuals. Team WEBALE split up into two classrooms each located ~15 min from the other. Each classroom held 25 girls ranging in ages from 15 to 20; most spoke English well and had at least a primary education, some had babies in the classroom with them while they attended the training. We kicked off by teaching them a fun cheer called “Boom Chick a Boom” – it helped break the ice and made us (the muzungu – white person) look silly! The morning hours focused on teaching basic hardware terminology and by the afternoon we moved on to typing, right/left click, and drag and drop. We were able to use the Maendeleo software, developed by Eric Morrow (a Seattleite who started an NGO in Uganda a few years ago). The software was great as it made learning simple, easy and is individualized for each student’s pace of learning. By the end of the day, the girls knew all the parts of the Intel-powered Classmate PCs and could recite “Central Processing Unit” back to me and I made sure they said it had an “Intel Atom CPU”! First impressions: Uganda is a beautiful country with green rolling hills, fruit-filled trees line the red-soil roads, and afternoon storms bring much needed respite from the heat. I also learned that 1 in every 4 Ugandans is HIV positive; that on average every woman births 6.7 children and that life expectancy is 51 years of age. During the first few days of the computer training, I observed shy and quiet girls who had never seen or touched a computer, actually type words, click and drag a picture and by the end of day 3, they had created their own Curriculum Vitae . Most girls stay after class to continue practicing their typing skills and they are in their seats and ready to go even before class starts – they are hungry for knowledge, they are hungry for opportunities and most importantly, they are hungry for a better life. The power of education and technology unfolds before us here in Uganda. Thank you Intel for not only providing the technology to make this happen, but for providing the Intel Education Service Corps so we, employees in gray cubes, can see the magic happen. Webale Intel!
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