Project Honduras Launch!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010 | posted by Jon Heifetz |
Global Playground's new technology center near El Progreso, Honduras opened on May 28th. It includes classroom space and a computer lab containing eight computers with Internet access, says Doug Bunch, Global Playground’s Chairman.

The technology center is part of a larger learning center that will be a central part of Villa Soleada, a community that is now home to about 45 families. The learning center is “probably the nicest facility in the whole community,” says Mr. Bunch. The prominence of this learning center fits with Global Playground’s goals. “Global Playground envisions its mission as being central to people’s lives in communities like this one,” explains Mr. Bunch.

Global Playground's technology center will serve not only the youth of Villa Soleada, but those of the nearby community of Las Brisas; more than 200 youth will immediately benefit from its presence. Its completion was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, with dancing, food, and singing. Members of the community spoke, as did Mr. Bunch, who elicited excitement from the youth in the crowd by announcing that they would soon be able to communicate with students at Global Playground’s other projects in Cambodia, Thailand, and Uganda. Local youth commemorated the occasion by planting a tree and erecting a plaque dedicating the technology center "to the children of El Progreso and their friends around the world."

In a matter of weeks, these youth will be able to communicate with students in the U.S., as well as students at Project Thailand who recently received five new computers from Global Playground. Students will be able to interact in real time, over the Internet, using Skype, a popular video- conferencing platform. These youth will be "put in touch with the rest of the world. It's an incredible opportunity," says Mr. Bunch.

Mr. Bunch travelled to Honduras for the opening ceremony accompanied by Jason Maga, a Global Playground volunteer, and was inspired by the "overwhelming response" to the new technology center. The ribbon-cutting event was even captured on local television. And in an especially auspicious show of support, an extremely rare circumhorizontal arc (more commonly known as a rainbow cloud) appeared directly above the learning center hours after it opened, marking the beginning of what Global Playground hopes will be a transforming learning experience for the children of El Progreso.

Global Playground Improving Students' Access to Technology Around the World

Wednesday, June 09, 2010 | posted by Jon Heifetz |

Recently, Global Playground has contributed a total of 17 new computers to Project Cambodia, Project Honduras, and Project Thailand, all for student use. This represents a very important step toward Global Playground's goal of utilizing Internet technology to allow students across the globe to communicate and share information with each other.

These computers are another step toward truly building a "global playground," where students from Asia, Africa and Latin America use the Internet to communicate and build friendships with each other, as well as with students in the U.S. The recent arrival of new computers at Projects Cambodia and Thailand is timely, as Project Honduras opened on May 28th.

Global Playground's donation of computers has not only increased student access to new technology and learning opportunities; it has helped create an exciting and safe learning environment for students who previously did not have one. The Huay Puung Mai School in the Mae Hong Song province of northern Thailand, also known as Project Thailand, is but one example. Five of Project Thailand's computers were contributed to this school's library. Thai students immediately engaged with the new technology, as the school was already wired for Internet access. During June, students from Honduras and Thailand will begin to communicate with each other as well as with students in the U.S. as a result of this technology.

In addition to providing computers for Project Thailand, Global Playground also financed computer software; contributed books for the library; provided a backup generator to ensure a reliable source of electricity; and provided a more secure library door to improve secure access to the computers. Furthermore, a cement walkway was built to cut down on dust and prolong the life of the computers.

Global Playground has financed computers at these project sites to help foster intercultural communication and learning between students around the world. As Global Playground Chairman Doug Bunch explained, "we knew that putting project sites in touch with each other would be critical to fostering meaningful cross-cultural dialogue among children in those countries."

A Wonderful Evening Under the Stars

Wednesday, June 09, 2010 | posted by Doug Bunch |
On April 30, 2010, Global Playground hosted its fourth annual Gala, “An Evening Under the Stars.” The event, held at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, raised funds for Global Playground’s projects as well as awareness of how to improve children’s access to education around the world.

The fundraiser was highly successful, with over $4,000 donated for ongoing projects in Uganda, Cambodia, Thailand and Honduras, as well as future projects. Over 140 guests enjoyed drinks and appetizers as they met Board members, leaders of partner organizations and student volunteers such as Steven Dellibove, an Eagle Scout candidate who chose Global Playground as the main beneficiary of his Eagle Scout project. Participants also learned how to get involved with Global Playground and perused a photography exhibit displaying beautiful framed pictures of Global Playground's projects. A number of event participants purchased photographs, with all proceeds going toward future projects.

The highlight of the evening was a live video conference via Skype with children in El Progreso, Honduras who will benefit from Global Playground's new technology center. The students thanked Global Playground for improving their access to education. Through the live video conference, both event participants and the Honduran students learned first-hand how technology supported by Global Playground can facilitate exciting and educational cross-cultural exchange.

Every aspect of the event - from the beautiful venue to the abundant food - was provided through generous donations of friends and family of Global Playground. Global Playground especially thanks the Carnegie Endowment, William & Mary's DC Office, Naovarat Branagan, and Peroni for their support of the Gala. The event could not have succeeded without their generous and meaningful contributions.