Living in New York City, one of the most technologically savvy places on the planet, and being part of the Avenues community with access to the most state-of-the art-technology and educational resources available, it’s easy to forget what life was like before the Internet. It wasn’t that long ago that newspapers were bought from a vendor, long distance phone calls were prohibitively expensive and writing to someone meant handwritten letters that could take weeks to arrive. The Internet has transformed our lives.
But that isn’t necessarily true across the world. For many people, unlimited access to information is unimaginable. Checking emails is neither a concern nor a possibility; verifying a news source or a health scare is not an option; taking a course online is impossible.
And yet, communities without Internet access are perhaps those who need it the most. The Internet can be used for education, health and nutrition research, connecting to the world, finding lost relatives, advocating for our human rights, sharing and creating news, solving problems and so much more. It is critically needed in developing communities that want to improve the lives of their inhabitants.
In these communities, connectivity could make a huge impact. Mobile networks are rapidly increasing in size and coverage, and this growth has paved the way for a connected future. But there is a long way to go.
Project Hello World, a project run by the UK-US human rights organization Projects For All, is on a mission to bring education to all and to end the global education deficit. By building Internet kiosks called “Hello Hubs,” which are focused on remote places that do not have schools or only have the most basic educational resources, Project Hello World makes access to information and educational resources a reality for thousands of people in the communities.
Avenues is thrilled to welcome the Project Hello World team to New York, to work with our students, faculty and staff over the next two weeks. Students throughout the school will be building a “stripped-down” version of a Hello Hub, learning about community-led projects and gaining insight into what it’s like to build something for real-world use that is truly life changing for people in remote and marginalized communities. The Avenues faculty will continue to support Project Hello World in designing research, data tools and new communication and design materials to help the organization grow and reach their mission to bring education for all.
Parents are welcome to stop by the ninth floor to see the Hello Hub build in progress, and please join Projects For All’s Katrin MacMillan and Roland Wells at 7:00 p.m. on November 9 in the Black Box Theater to learn more about the organization and the work we are collaborating on. We are also looking forward to the SXSWedu panel in March 2017, where we will present and discuss together our research findings and share the impact being made in education in remote communities.
By Faith Rosen
Director of Product Management, Avenues: The World School
(This post was first published in OPEN, the news and discussion blog of Avenues: The World School)
For more information on Avenues: The World School, please visit here.