Slum2School Africa, a leading volunteer driven social developmental organization, officially launched their first virtual learning studio…
Slum2School Africa, a leading volunteer driven social developmental organization, officially launched their first virtual learning studio and classroom for children across underserved communities in Africa which is tailored to provide access to continuous learning for 10,000 deserving children for free.
Over the past 8 years, Slum2School Africa has supported over 108,500 children by providing various forms of educational scholarships, psycho-social support and through this program many more children will be impacted positively.
The Slum2School Virtual Learning Studio/Classroom is a state-of-the-art virtual space for learning where various activity and discussion-based classroom experience can be recreated to keep learners engaged virtually. It connects learners from several communities and cities who can easily log in concurrently and join real-time class sessions with their peers, teachers and trainers. It is a powerful innovative learning space not only for the students but the teachers and helps bring a much more intimate, measurable and equitable opportunity for learning.
Speaking to our correspondent, the Founder and Executive Director of Slum2School Africa, Orondaam Otto, said, “Integrating digital learning as a means of educating children from slums and underserved communities has been very important for us at Slum2School Africa and when the Covid19 pandemic led to the shut down of schools, we were able to launch much faster into the future what we had been gradually preparing for, even though we had several challenges including funding.”
“In the early phase of the lockdown, we were very keen on ensuring that thousands of our beneficiaries, their families and communities had all the information and basic requirements for safety and sustenance. As we progressed with our online mentorship, guidance and counselling sessions, relief bank projects, our beneficiaries kept asking if there was ever a chance for them to continue learning as most of them had begun assisting their parents in hawking and trading in various neighborhood markets within their communities. We had also received reports of cases of teenage pregnancies and we had thought it urgent to launch the Virtual Learning Program to keep both boys and girls engaged in learning, counselling, advocacy and various forms of mentorship during this period.”
“Today, we have successfully onboarded 948 learners across 11 communities in Lagos, Nigeria and our goal is to reach 10,000 learners across more communities. Thanks to Alitheia Capital and ESPN who supported the first sets of tablets for the kids, EatNGo who supported our teachers and Microsoft who provided Office 365 licenses for all our student and teachers.Today we are seeking more partnerships and collaborations to enable us not only to reach 10,000 learners across underserved communities, but indeed to ensure that every child irrespective of their social or economic background, has the right to learn and excel in life.”
Speaking about some of the challenges, he said “We experimented with various solutions which were not achievable with our timeline and we faced some financial constraints but we remained undeterred. We reached out to the team that built the Harvard Business School Virtual Studio, but we could not afford their price, but with the learnings they gracefully shared and several other tech volunteers we had on our team, we were able to design and build ours within 8 weeks. The major challenge here was getting our beneficiaries connected as the majority didn’t have access to digital devices and so we had to order more tablets which unfortunately took 5 weeks to arrive due to the global lockdown. We had to deal with issues like access to power, data, safety and security of devices and our team worked brilliantly in mitigating all these challenges across the communities.
So far, we have seen that the learners are very excited and now spend more time learning a lot of things at their pace which they would not have learned even in a classroom and we believe that this is indeed what the future of learning should be like.”
Also, speaking at the press conference, the Head of Operations, Ruth Ebe mentioned that to scale and sustain this program various organizations, individuals, media partners, donors and corporate institutions across various industries, are invited to join forces with Slum2School Africa in ensuring that these children, especially the most disadvantaged, have access to quality education during the ongoing pandemic and beyond.” She further highlighted the fact that, “it costs N50,000.00 [ Fifty thousand Naira] to provide a device for a child and N100,000.00 [ One hundred thousand Naira ] to support a child for a year on the virtual learning program.”