Indigenous Technology for A Connected Future

Help us bring Internet to Indigenous Guyana! These children have zero access to the Internet, making it impossible for them to connect with the rest of the world! Our goal is to empower Indigenous populations through education to give villagers an opportunity to explore the Internet as a tool for research, health, and business. We are situated in a remote location called Yupukari Village, deep in the jungles of Guyana, South America, frequently referred to as Guyana’s interior, or hinterlands. Yupukari is considered a major hub to the 3 surrounding villages, which utilize Yupukari for our limited medical outpost. Right now, the Indigenous communities face many challenges including little to no access to information, transportation, medical attention, and higher education, among many others. 

As we are not on the grid, we do not have affordable internet- the only company that will provide this service to us is called I-NET Communications based in Georgetown and the cost to get started with them is roughly 5,000 USD. As if that cost is not high enough, the monthly bill is 1,600 USD for an unlimited package, whereas our colleagues elsewhere pay around 100 USD. As we don’t have any electric company nearby, the solar system to power the computer lab will cost 25,000 USD. We initially plan to budget for 10 computers in the lab, affordable desktops, which will cost another 5,000 at least. Our fundraiser goal includes 36 months of unlimited Internet service. Anything over our goal will go towards part time staff for the library and any additional resources the kids may need such as typing games and exercise books.

Furthermore, the daily income rate for skilled workers is between 15-25$ per day, so, of course no one can afford I-NET Internet bills on this income, not even in one lifetime. As you can imagine, the schools suffer greatly from this and the teachers are not able to teach computer classes, thus many kids and adults are left with zero computer skills and have difficulty typing efficiently or writing basic emails. Could you imagine your child having less opportunities because they do not have online exposure? Children of the interior do not have the same level of access to information as other children in Guyana, let alone other children in the world. This hinders our ability to develop along with the rest of Guyana, and South America.

As a new mother, it is my dream to open a computer lab so individuals who are interested in learning basic computer skills can access this technology. Eventually we could run a computer certification course for students and adult learners to become proficient in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, etc. The computer lab could be a place where kids could go to further their education, expand their world, and eventually apply to college. The lab would be a key place for men and women looking to expand their knowledge base into something new such as how to run a business online selling their indigenous crafts. 

Many teachers around the world would not be able to see themselves teaching without using the Internet- as it is now a necessary utility. These children are going to school without using the internet as a tool for completing their homework and other assignments. This project will bridge the gap and give the people of Yupukari a chance at modern education and business. There are many intelligent Amerindian people who have the potential to run their own businesses, they have the skills and the certifications required, but this lack of connection to the outside world is a constant hinderance on their personal growth. The computer lab would directly contribute to the local economy by giving people more options for creating their own income streams.

Your donation will help us connect Indigenous Guyana to the rest of the world so these children can access information and education along with everyone else!

Organizer and beneficiary

Jennifer Lawrence
Organizer
Saint Charles, MO
Rupununi Learners Foundation
Beneficiary

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