An amusing post came up on my Facebook feed recently. It was a photo of a billboard outside a restaurant: “We don’t have WIFI. Come in and talk to each other. Pretend it is the 1990s.”
What would your life be like if you didn’t have access to technology? Where “friend” relationships were based primarily on face-to-face conversations and information spread primarily by word of mouth?
It is hard to imagine not having technology for personal communication, work or school. Yet that is the challenge local Mexican families with limited resources face. Students in secundaria (middle school), prepa (high school) and university all have homework and special projects that require technology. USB drives are required school supplies. Few students have access to the internet or tablets/laptops in their homes. School technology resources often don’t work or are limited to school hours. Internet cafes are an option but many families can’t pay the fees. Neighborhood parks offer free wifi but students need their own devices and must be comfortable with their personal safety in a public place often after dark.
Last year FOC initiated a pilot project in collaboration with Vida Abundante Church to open a small drop-in center for homework. FOC purchased four laptops. A local computer tech volunteers to configure the laptops, run updates and install online security. The church provides a classroom with locks to secure the laptops, free internet access, printing and someone to monitor use.
Beginning this month the project is being promoted more broadly with two set times and other days by appointment. Individuals and teams of students now have a safe place to work together on school projects where they can concentrate on their homework and has free access to wifi, laptops and printing. Adults may also use the laptops for online investigation for their own learning.
Interested in supporting education through technology to benefit Cozumel youth? Approximately 200 usb drives (any size) are needed by July 2018 for our school supply distribution to Cozumel students. They can be ordered in quantity (5, 10 or more) online for approximately $4 USD each. Local cost is more than double so it takes one or two days wages for a parent to purchase. We’re looking for donations of usb drives (used ones are fine if contents are cleaned off). Another option is to volunteer to transport usb drives (they are small and lightweight) if you are coming to Cozumel via cruise ship or plane. We can order and pay for usb drives with FOC donor funds to drop ship to your location to bring. If you are coming to Cozumel and are willing to donate or transport usb drives, contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook private message.
Larry & Karen in Cozumel