Jillian Pikora is a 2014 UNA-USA Social Good Summit Blogger Fellow. View her blog here.
I had the wonderful privilege to attend the Social Good Summit in NYC 9/21-22. Yes, I met celebrities, entrepreneurs, and executives, but that is not what moved me. It was the story of Jampa that inspired me and made me tear up.
Jampa Latso grew up in Tsha Ra, Tibet. In this snowy mountain village, she was raised knowing her entire community wished she had been born male. Her mother told her “The birth of a child is a miracle and its worth cannot be equated anything else.” As Jampa stated at the Summit, this helped here find the strength to “navigate through the maze of the educational paradigm”.
Upon graduating High School she saved up and bought time at her local internet cafe to study. This past spring she graduated from Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Asian Studies as Major and Development Studies in Minor. She was the first people in the history of Tsha Ra to ever attend a university.
Now she is able to “reflect my life as well as people in my community; I embrace multicultural values while strengthening my own identity, as a Tibetan girl.”
Jampa is currently a contributor to World Pulse. She also has created and implemented small-scale development projects “Solar Panel Project (30 solar panels to 30 households); a Flash Lighter Project which benefited 54 families; a Second-hand Clothes Project which benefited 160 people and a Book Project that benefited 342 students and 18 teachers…The purpose of these projects is to have parents send more girls to school because they could see girls also can do so much.” You can learn more about her here.
Her story should not be unique. Child should feel empowered and be engaged to learn. I may sound overly optimistic but with the Millennium Development Goals, the many projects I learned about at the Social Good Summit, and the amazing work I see people like Jampa doing each day I know that technology can help bridge educational gaps.
How can we bridge the educational gaps?
- Take back the computer labs, public libraries, and internet cafes. These computer centers usually have affordable internet access and sometimes have web-cameras, microphones, headphones, fax machines, printers, scanners/copiers, and much more depending on the location. Unfortunately, in recent years this facilities are over run with gamers, social media fans, video chatting, and erotic film aficionados. We should not feel timid to buy 2 hours of time to study, take online classes, watch a lecture, or read an ebook! Petition your local computer center for a study only time. If that is unsuccessful don’t be disheartened, continue signing-up to for time to use the computers to educate yourself.
- Donate to organizations the give students computers, cellphones, scholarships, and free or near-free classes. Take a look at the Social Good Summit’s Agenda to find organizations.
- Volunteer to tutor or teach students worldwide. One such organization was discussed at the summit: Skype Classroom.
Please comment to share your ideas and plans to digitally empower the world to provide educational opportunities.