Learning Together and Building a Future
Joseph Galbraith, Ayush Panwar, Malik Galbraith and Ezekiel Schuurs, International Baccalaurete Diploma Program Year 12 Students
We are four Senior School International Baccalaureate Diploma Program students from the International School of Uganda (ISU) in Lubowa. We have been working closely with community leader, Bolingo Nthira, a Congolese refugee. In 2010, Mr. Nthira founded Hope of Children and Women Victims of Violence (HOCW) with the aim to provide community for refugees from different war stricken countries, especially focusing on Congo and South Sudan.
HOCW and ISU have been partner organizations since August of 2015. ISU Community Coordinator Elizabeth Garrott invited Bolingo Nthira to visit the International School of Uganda (ISU) and give our Grade 11 class a presentation of the community at the Centre. He pointed out that HOCW offers a variety of programs in education, health and financial aid. HOCW also offers a computer class that teaches refugees basic computer skills such as typing, using the internet, and using programs. Bolingo brought his students. They shared that their favourite class was the computer class. This caught our attention, as we are all interested in computers as well.
We first planned to teach typing at HOCW for beginners and students with prior computer experience. Once we started our lessons, we discovered that a substantial number of students had never used a computer before. We adjusted our lesson plans to include introductory pieces, such as showing some of our students how to hold a mouse. We started with three students and three computers. This changed quickly as the number of students increased. Soon, multiple students were sharing a computer, preventing us from covering the full scope of learning material we had initially planned. Another challenge was that many of the computers at the HOCW Centre had old and depleted batteries, shutting down whenever electricity would go off. Additionally, students were working with tablets connected to keyboards. We reflected on what we were going to do to improve their learning experience.
Our ideas ranged from donating a laptop, to fundraising on a crowdfunding site and selling goods made by clients at HOCW. Some of our group went to the US to visit family and friends. They sold handmade baskets from women in the HOCW basket weaving class. Within three weeks we sold all of our baskets. Another ISU student in Uganda sold baked goods at the school throughout the year. We also raised money through donations from our family and friends and together we collected funds for necessary supplies.
Before spending the funds, we researched ways to best benefit the clients at HOCW. We collected, donated, and purchased hardware and bought antivirus software and Microsoft Office. We will work with Cedric, the computer teacher, to set up the new programs and systems and to make space and security renovations. We are looking forward to continuing to develop more lesson plans and continue to teach at HOCW.
Through the International School of Uganda’s community partnership with HOCW, we work together to create opportunities for computer students to work, learn, and develop their skills.
Published in ISS NewsLinks: Volume XXXII Number 1