93% of public primary schools in Guatemala do not have access to technology. In El Paredón only 26% of the secondary school students felt comfortable using a computer. With the tourism industry growing rapidly, digital knowledge is essential for the children to access future employment opportunities, educational resources and be able to connect with the outside world. Building on our successful partnership with Surf for Life, following the construction of the secondary school in 2015, we built a brand new computer lab for the secondary school students to learn vital skills and be better prepared for the next stages in their lives La Choza Chula raised over $5000 through crowdfunding to equip the computer lab with 17 high-spec computers featuring up-to-date off-line programmes. The package, provided by Funsepa, a Guatemalan organisation working to improve education through technology, includes ongoing maintenance and support. It also included training that reached over 100 teachers from El Paredón and the surrounding area, helping us to extend our reach to more teachers in the region.
With integrated desks and air conditioning, the facility has been named the best in the region and is becoming a community-wide learning resource. Amid much excitement it was officially opened as the Ojah Computer Lab in July 2016. The lab is named in memory of Dr Ajay K Ojah who volunteered on the school build in 2014.
All of the students using the lab believe it is a crucial tool for their future education and job opportunities, with one student noting that as a result of workshops there, we can be someone in life.
José Luis Valladares Montarroso
With a new computer lab, the children will be able to study the technical course in a secure and productive environment. Now we only have five computers and there can be up to 23 children in a class. This means only five can enter at a time and this complicates things for the teacher and is not very efficient for learning. The laboratory will also ensure the salt from the ocean doesn’t get into the building and destroy the machines.