By Kerry Ginsburg, blog writer and S.O.U.L. Foundation Project Manager
In today's market, technology is a driving force. Everywhere you go, people are connected. Not just in the Western markets, even in a developing country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a job without even the basic computer skills. The technology field is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide and as we are educating our students through to university level there is still a educational gap between them and their urban counterparts in the way of computer skills. Through strategic partnerships with local schools, S.O.U.L. Foundation is aiming to change and bridge that gap.
When I came to Bujagali Falls a year and a half ago, I partnered with an engineer at home and brought 10 Raspberry Pi computers to the Trinity School. Last week I was able to visit the lab and access the computers and progress that has been made since implementing. I am happy to report that all 10 computers are working great and teaching 20 + students a class, twice a week! Partnerships with the Trinity School are perfect examples on how S.O.U.L.s mission works. In exchange for each computer we donated, several students were sponsored by the school. Thus giving 20 students access to education and also a computer lab daily. S.O.U.L. focuses on partnerships and this is a successful example of that statement.
Close to two years ago, S.O.U.L.'s Solar Engineering team fundraised and built a solar computer lab at their village headquarters that aims to educate the local community as well as partner with schools in the nearby villages without access to computers, to educate students who would otherwise not have the ability to gain these valuable skills.
Currently, the S.O.U.L. computer lab teaches close to 80 students a week basic computer skills necessary to give them the same competitive edge as their peers, who are fortunate enough to have access to computers in their schools or home. Through a fundraiser I organized last year and the help from all the donors, I am fortunate to see the beginning stages of this amazing initiative. Over the last 3 months, S.O.U.L. has partnered with their first school as a trial to bring students to the lab twice a week over the course of 3 months to the S.O.U.L. headquarters. Having just met with the school, the success of the trial was immense, benefiting the school and the students, they are excited to continue the program. As we move forward, in the coming weeks, we will be focusing on finding new schools to partner with and provide the same benefits to the school and children.
While we are working on giving each child an equal opportunity, educating them is not enough. We must give them the necessary skills to thrive in continuing education and the workplace. S.O.U.L. Foundation along with our committed staff are doing an amazing job at bridging the gap and empowering future generations to become more educated in several different areas. I am excited to see the continued progress, partnerships and help bring technology expertise to the field in the next seven months.