Bridge to Haiti: Update from Grande Saline

Computer classes continue in Grande Saline!  There are now 85 children and 45 young adults taking classes at the newly expanded computer lab. The Grande Saline computer center has fifteen laptops (donated by Geodis, Pall and Professor Sandy Wright and the SUNY Broome Business Information Technology Department).  The laptops were refurbished and set up by Bridging the Digital Divide Program (BDDP) volunteer Jack Rappaport. And….thanks to generous donations from local community members, and installation work performed by the 2015 Health for Haiti class and Dr. Gay Canough from ETM Solar Works, the laptops are now powered by clean, quiet solar power. This is a major improvement for the community as the generator they were relying on to power the computers was old, noisy and often failed to work.  In addition gas is very expensive and difficult to obtain.  Now the power for the computers comes from Haiti’s abundant sunshine.

The students and young adults are working through the Level 1 computer literacy training documents provided by the BDDP and translated into Haitian Creole by SUNY Broome student Shaina Louis. Other students are learning to use PowerPoint and will participate in the Bridge to Haiti digital pen-pal exchange with students at George F. Johnson Elementary School in Endicott, New York. The students can also access the Internet to expand their learning opportunities. The new laptops provided by Professor Wright’s department have built-in webcams, and the SUNY Broome community has the opportunity to communicate and work with the people in Grande Saline over our digital bridge.

Our teacher in Grande Saline, Tida, recently held a meeting with members of the community to discuss the computer school.  The community is thinking about what they want to name their computer center, and is also suggesting that students come for their classes properly dressed and cleaned up. In Haiti students almost always wear a uniform to school, and this is something that the community hopes to eventually have for their computer school.  Tida said that this is very important to the parents and the students. We are glad that the community members appreciate and value the opportunity to have computer classes, and we hope to find a way to help provide at least a uniform shirt for the computer students.

If you would like to help support the computer school in Grande Saline or any of the Health for Haiti class projects, please visit our Support Health for Haiti page.


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