Through the open windows of the school classrooms the sounds of exchange between learner and teacher echo and dance on the breath of the chilly winter wind that cuts through the bare branches of the trees in the school ground. Young voices in unison chant freshly learned knowledge and reinforce what they know already. Such enthusiasm is electric and contagious.
We met Candyce and Allysa as they leapt off the Wilderness Safaris vehicle cradling a precious load that they lovingly lugged all the way from Washington DC. They were here at Twabuka Community School to hand over laptops to the school as part of an education project called Henny’s Kids. The school head, heads of department, teachers and village headmen were gathered in one of the classrooms for this special occasion.
Candyce’s mother, Henny (Henrietta), was an elementary (primary) school teacher in the United States. She was completely dedicated to the value of education and its importance for young minds. In honour of her memory, Henny’s Kids has been formed which is intended to bring education through collaborative learning to rural schools in Africa. Candyce is a travel journalist in the US and as such she has had the opportunity to visit Africa on many occasions. Now she and her daughter were visiting Zambia to hand over 11 laptops and seven solar panels to Twabuka Primary and to show the teachers how collaborative education works via the medium of computers.
Quite simply and very cleverly, a small virtual network through open source software called ‘sugar’ has been developed by an NGO called ‘One Laptop per Child’. Their mission is to ‘provide every child in the world access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression.’ (www.one.laptop.org). Henny’s Kids worked together with One Laptop per Child and Children in the Wilderness to launch this very well tried and tested medium of learning at Twabuka Community School. The programme is ongoing and more laptops will be required to achieve its full potential in the school. For anyone interested in donating funds for this project, contact Children in the Wilderness via the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After intensive demonstration and application, the teachers were delighted with the new medium of teaching/learning. Then the computers were handed over to the learners to have a try – the eagerness on their faces and the enthusiasm with which they took to the learning filled everyone’s hearts with gratitude.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela.
Read Wilderness Safaris' press release online.
Find out more about the work One Laptop Per Child does here.