BeginIT Volunteers: Gabriela from Colombia
08 July 2020, Wednesday

We continue our column "BeginIT Volunteers”, where we talk about people who care about education and charity. Our volunteers are an important part of the BeginIT project.

The heroine of our column today is Gabriela Bernal from Colombia. We have been working with her for a long time and she is one of the closest people to us in spirit.

We discussed the difficulties that Gabriela had to face while working on the project and asked her to talk about the specifics of education in countries such as: Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Ecuador.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Gabriela, and I live in Bogota, in Colombia. I work in the recruitment department of inDriver I joined the company two years ago. And I also participate in the BeginIT project, where we work with orphanages and schools in Colombia (in Bogotá, Medellin and Barranquilla), in Mexico (in Merida, Mexico City and Hermosillo) and Peru (in Chaclacayo).

What is the situation with education in your country?

In recent decades, education in our country has been declared a priority and certain resources are allocated for it. So, children from low-income families can now safely get a full course of school education. However, the situation with the education of children from rural areas is still difficult.
Also, in our country, because of poverty, the level of education is much lower than average. Lack of support for education affects its quality and many children find it difficult to get a good knowledge base. Therefore, they are required to make titanic efforts to develop and learn.
"Alas, in Colombia you can often hear that children drop out of school at an early age.
This is because schoolchildren are involved in an infinite number of social problems, and cannot overcome these obstacles.
On the other hand, corruption, dishonest employees, and the ethical crisis of public and private institutions are also the reasons why most young people do not have basic knowledge of mathematics or, for example, history.

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A lesson in Chaclacayo, Peru

How do schools get into the BeginIT project?

I’m looking for orphanages, boarding schools or rural schools that work with children from vulnerable segments of the population. If possible, I contact them directly. I tell them about the project and explain what it takes to connect to the project, and also answer all questions that they have.
After the agreement with the institution is made, I have permission to implement the project. Here I take up the search for teachers who are suitable for teaching lessons. This is a very important point, therefore I take this issue very seriously, a lot depends on it.
And finally, when the teacher is found, I contact the director or the people in charge of the institution to develop a curriculum and integrate classes into the educational program. Then we compose groups of volunteers and begin training. As a rule, there are from 6 to 10 people in each group.

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A lesson in Bogota, Colombia

What difficulties do you encounter while looking for participants?

The main difficulty is that most institutions do not have the necessary technical equipment. Most often, even if they have computers, they have neither the Internet, nor the opportunity to fix it and further engage with the project. Most of these institutions do not have any support from governments and have few private or independent sponsors, which is common to Colombia, Mexico, and Ecuador.

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A lesson in Mexico City, Mexico

Why is information technology so important for children?

The world is changing, and we are changing along with it. And information technology is the future! With the help of technology we make new friends from different countries, and we get an excellent cultural exchange, one that distance cannot hinder. It is very difficult to imagine modern life without technology. It provides the biggest opportunities to study, communicate, and be heard by an increasing number of people, including children who, for various reasons, were deprived of it. Their bright future depends on it. That is why information technology is so important!

The BeginIT educational project has been implemented in Russia for seven years, but for the second year we have been working at the international level, uniting children from Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, Peru, Indonesia and India.

To apply for participation in the project, fill out a special form.