In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania the story continued, progressed. There, Richie and his daughter, Kayla, developed and executed a plan to bring computers and the internet to the St. Theresa Kindergarten and Primary School. It had been three decades since ICAN’s Founder, Richie Ogulnick, dedicated himself to a very simple but seemingly impossible Declaration of Responsibility. He promised himself he would find a way to raise awareness of children all around the world, not just in his prosperous and economically energetic country of the United States of America. It was 1984, and there were limited resources for this type of vision.
Flash forward to 2008, Richie registers the International Children’s Awareness Network in Florida as tax exempt, 501(c)3 non-profit organization. He then focused on two areas of Tanzania for his first projects—the bustling city of Dar es Salaam and a rural village 20 miles away. His plan was to raise enough money to buy a downtown school in Dar es Salaam 30 computers with internet access and in the rural village develop a sustainable food production independent of the neighboring city. In 2008, and again in 2010, Richie visited Africa and worked towards these two linked goals: bring the educational power of computers and the internet into schools without them and develop campaigns for sustainability as means to empower and revitalize impoverished communities and the future leaders of our world—the children and young adults.
He returned stateside with his daughter in the Fall of 2010, having accomplished one of his goals, the other project had been put on hold until resources and money could be gathered and would have to wait for Richie to return to Tanzania to even begin. The project he put his initial efforts into had payed off—and the St. Theresa Primary School’s students now had a fully operational computer room with internet access. ICAN donated 30 computers to this large city school and provided money for internet access. Soon, it was promised by the administration of the school, the 6th and 7th grade students would have e-mail addresses and be able to link up with other students from around the world at the click of a mouse.
The progress made has been slow because of technical difficulties with the internet connection, but the children will soon be talking to other ICAN Students from around the world on the ICAN Student forum, chat, and blog—and through the email and Skype username lists available to all members. ICAN is building bridges over the technological divide to children and young adults with little to no computer and internet access in their schools.
Using the lessons learned in our first project in Dar es Salaam, we will be scouting the globe for NGO’s that make a difference in this much needed resource for children and young adults in their schools: nonprofit organizations that get computers and internet access to the young people that need them most. We are in search of worthwhile organizations in what hope will prove to be a very long list soon, that donate computers and internet connections. If you work for or support an organization that serves this mission, please contact us today and become included on our ICAN .Org Member list.
We are also interested in other forms of educational activism, such as organizations that deliver used textbooks, bikes, school supplies, and develop sustainable gardens to provide nutritious food to students in need. A simple action, such as dropping your used bike or bike parts to an organization like http://www.recycleabicycle.org or donating a books and computers to impoverished schools and communities or developing a rooftop garden in a city school that grows much of their cafeteria’s fruits and vegetables, can make a world of difference in a child’s life. We applaud all like minded ICAN Educate organizations and ask all organizations that believe in ICAN’s three-fold mission to contact us today to be included on our .Org Lists.
Each month we will be highlighting individuals and groups of ICAN Students that are leading the way in the education of tomorrow. If you are a registered ICAN student, write me today at Damon@icanrevolution to tell me why you, a friend, family member, or even your whole class and school should be spotlighted. If you are not a member you can sign up for free today by pushing the register button on the frontpage!