The long road to school in Mexico, Uganda and KenyaComments
For some students getting to school is a major challenge and arriving in the classroom means running all kinds of risks. For others, getting access to the internet is a problem.
Mexico: Pedal power
For one family in León, Mexico, having breakfast together used to be a luxury. But now it’s a daily event because they have bicycles which were donated by the local government’s programme “To School by Bike”.
Before they had the bikes, it used to take an hour to walk to school, which is four kilometres away. They were often late, which meant being excluded for the day. Now, it takes just twenty minutes and they’re usually on time.
Around 150 children in rural areas have now been given bikes to help them get to school.
The local authorities gave these bicycles to several schools in remote areas, and teachers then decided which children would benefit most.
Teachers have also noticed that the children with bicycles are in better health than they used to be… and of course, they are more often in school. The more often they’re in class the better results they get.
The scheme already covers children in three primary schools, and five secondary schools and is set to be expanded.
Uganda: ICT on the move
In Uganda, because of poor infrastructure and expensive electricity, only 5% of the population has internet access. So, 5 years ago the Maendeleo Foundation founded the Mobile Solar Computer Classroom (MSCC) project. It’s an innovative way to break down barriers to ICT and was a WISE award finalist in 2013. And now a 4×4 vehicle, equipped with two teachers, 15 laptops and three solar panels, introduces rural schools and communities to the internet.
Wherever it goes, the Mobile Solar Computer Classroom causes excitement. It uses training software specially designed to respond to different learning stages, allowing people to learn at their own speed. And the games and puzzles make the lessons enjoyable and memorable as well as educational.
Since 2008, around 20,000 students and 1,000 teachers in 55 different schools have had basic computer training. So teachers can now use the internet to research new teaching materials, and to connect with schools all over the world. It’s a huge transformation and the project now hopes to install permanent computer labs in 55 Ugandan schools.
Risking their lives
Salome and her brother Jackson are from Kenya, where they belong to a Masai tribe. So when they arrived in Paris, the exotic “Jardin d’Acclimatation” seemed almost like a home from home. Pascal Plisson, a French documentary-maker, made a film about their lives in Kenya.
Every day the siblings have to walk across 20 km of Savannah to go to school. It’s a journey full of obstacles, and carries the risk of meeting dangerous wild animals. Jackson is 13 years old.
Jackson and Salomé are one of four sets of people featured in the film “Sur le Chemin de l’Ecole” – “On the Way to School”, which was premiered in Paris. All the stories in the film deal with young people who are prepared to make extreme efforts to get an education.
Certainly, being determined to get to school has resulted in a life-changing journey for Salome and Jackson.