After discussing a few different potential locations for our first centre, we decided to go with Myanmar (Burma). I contacted my friends (Charisse and Thuzar) in Myanmar who were very excited by this project. I visited the orphanage to talk about the project and make sure there was space for the students to learn.
Once, I knew they were on board, I started researching how to get the computers to Myanmar and my friends started researching how to get internet to the orphanage. Our company, Shine Dance Competitions, in partnership with Response I.T., arranged to provide all the computer equipment for the project, among other things. After months of researching different methods to send the computers to Myanmar, I reached out to Mike (XploreAsia’s Managing Director) for help. With some luck, Mike happened to know the easiest route to get computers to Yangon, Where he connected with another teacher who sent them to the Orphanage. We are so grateful for the team of people who helped get this project off the ground.
It took a lot of work for the teachers in Myanmar to get internet set up at the orphanage. It isn't as easy as just making a phone call here at home. The orphanage is on the outskirts of the town so many internet providers did not want to bring wires all that way. No one around the orphanage has internet, so the internet provider had to run cable from town. We also had to make sure we had internet that would be fast enough for the kids to learn without losing interest while pages load.
After several months, the internet was installed and the computers arrived. The children were thrilled the first time they saw the computers. They all spent the day watching the wires be installed for the internet connection. Charisse and Thuzar brought snacks for the kids and made a celebration over the connection of the computers. They then went on to teach the students all about the computers, how they work and what they would be doing with them.
Charisse and Thuzar visit the orphanage on weekends when they are not teaching at school. They work with the kids on the computers, as the students are still learning how the computers work. Through many great education oriented websites the kids can learn anything they want. Currently they are using early learner English websites to improve their English. In other countries, such as Thailand, where websites are offered in the primary language, the children can start taking any courses they want. However, we will still encourage the improvement of their English language skills, as this will help to create more opportunities for them in the future.
We will post updates every couple of months following the students progress. Stayed tuned!