What could we accomplish in India if we joined together with people from a different part of the world for a common purpose, put behind them the muscle and strength of a large multinational company and then supported them with 13 years of experience and knowledge of our country?
One answer is a ‘Smart Class’.
The irony remains that while India is considered in many ways to be the Information Technology hub of the world, many rural schools in India, where close to 70% of the population lives, still do not have adequate computer labs or teach computer literacy skills as part of their curriculum. We aimed to address this challenge by bringing together various stakeholders to build a computer lab or ‘Smart Class’ for children in a village in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
A total of 54 volunteers worked over a period of 2 weeks to set up the ‘Smart Class’ in Keeranallur Government High School located in Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu. They worked to paint the building, complete the flooring, set up the furniture and lend a technical hand to finish up on the electrical work. The lab was then furnished with 20 Samsung laptops to help provide education and computer literacy to nearly 300 children at the school, attending from 6th Standard to 10th Standard, and aged between 11 to 16 years.
Apart from providing infrastructural support, the volunteers also worked to ensure sustainability of the initiative by training close to 13 teachers of the school in basic computer literacy skills, enabling them with the capacity to pass on the knowledge to children in the school. They also developed a curriculum for the purpose.
The construction and setting up of the ‘Smart Class’ took place in the month of November, 2013, from the 9th to the 22nd,as a part of the Samsung Electronics Employee Volunteer Program, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of Samsung Electronics Pvt. Ltd., South Korea. All the volunteers of the program were employees of Samsung. Collaborating with us on this was Better World Organization (BWO), our partners in Korea. It also involved the efforts of local community members and the co-operation of the school’s administration.
The inauguration of the ‘Smart Class’, which took place on the 22nd of November, was attended by Mr.Ookki Kim, Managing Director of Samsung, Mr. Rohan D’Souza, Director of FSL India, Ms. Delmi the representative of BWO and district educational dignitaries.