Teaching Computer Literacy: My highlights

Teaching Computer Literacy: My highlights
16th November 2016

Have you ever considered volunteering in Uganda? You should! The ‘pearl of Africa’ is a beautiful, smiley, exciting country and working for a woman’s empowerment NGO is both important and fulfilling work.

For the past 6 weeks I have been teaching both in school and adult computer literacy classes for Women in Leadership Uganda and these are a few of my highlights so far…

My first week in the village was a blur of friendly faces, scorching sun and colourful market scenes. As I walked down the dirt track to Townside Secondary School, where I would be teaching my first computer class, I was excited and apprehensive to meet the girls. Something I was not prepared for was the lack of equipment to the number of girls. I had 14 girls to 4 working computers, but what struck me the most was their eagerness to learn despite this. Half way through the session the power went off, another obstacle I had not anticipated! All was well though as I took the opportunity to sit them down and talk to them about why they choose to use their free time after school to attend WILs programmes. Their answers were insightful and inspiring. Without computer skills passing the exams to get into university is just a distant dream and these girls dreams are big. Politicians, doctors and bank manager were just a few of their aspirations yet they were also all too aware that without these invaluable skills even a job in a shop may not be possible. From day one I was determined to make a lasting, positive impact on these girls.

One month on I was overcome with pride when one of my students Okirima Mary, who could barely type when I started, confidently typed the following sentence:

“I humbly appreciate you for introducing computer studies at Townside High School. I have really enjoyed the lessons of computer because it has helped to open a bright future for me.”

I have been so surprised at how far the girls have come in such a short time, for us in the west to be able to type and navigate a PC is second nature but for many girls in Uganda it is a luxury, but one that has the ability to provide a bright and empowering future.

David in a one to one adult literacy class

David in a one to one adult literacy class

In addition to the in school sessions my one to one classes with community members have been hugely successful too. I have seen women who have never turned on a computer before navigate word and type up a CV. I have overheard two of my students conversing about how challenging yet rewarding their sessions are but why is the keyboard not in alphabetical order?! They have fair point!  But by far my favourite moment was introducing my student David to Google for the first time. His mind was blown when I said it could answer pretty much any question he might have, his first google therefore; who is the tallest man in the world?!



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