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.
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