The greatest part about the keyboarding and basic computing course is that the women are enthusiastic and truly seem excited to be enrolled. Thus far I have had 100% attendance and nothing but positive reactions. Overall, it is really wonderful to have a class where the women come, not out of obligation, but because they truly want to learn and feel that material will be beneficial to their everyday lives. This feedback really drives me to continue developing and improving the course.
What are the levels of your students? Were they at a higher or lower level that you had thought?
While we do have a couple more advanced students, the overall computing level of the women is quite low. The majority needed instruction on how to use both a mouse and basic keys. Admittedly, I was expecting the women to have a slightly higher understanding. Several homes in Huaycan do have personal computers and for those who don’t, cheap Internet cafes are available. Nonetheless, it is easy to forget that without basic instruction, approaching a computer would be extremely intimidating.
Why do you think computer skills/typing skills are important for women to have? Why do you think they signed up for the course?
There is no doubt that computers will continue to play an ever growing and integral role in the Peruvian job sector. Therefore, learning basic skills such as typing and general computer functions could potentially lead to greater economic opportunities for the women. On a personal level, the women will gain confidence by measuring their own progress and improvement, while also feeling secure in their ability to both approach and successfully use a computer.
Can you explain the pen pal program and what it brings to the keyboarding class?
The pen pal program in itself is a very straightforward project. In each class, the last half an hour is specifically set aside for the women to write a letter to a former Light and Leadership volunteer. The LLI volunteers will then write a letter in return that same week. The goal is to continue this program throughout the length of the course. I truly believe that the pen pal program will be dually beneficial for both the women in the course and the participating former LLI volunteers. For the women in Huaycan, they are able to continue practicing and developing their typing skills in a more applied manner, which is unquestionably more exciting than copying text straight from the typing program. In addition, the women are able to build cross-cultural friendships, while those who had personal relationships with the former volunteers are able to stay in touch. From the volunteer perspective, the girls [volunteers] are able to continue playing an active role in Light and Leadership, while also staying updated on life in Huaycan.
LLI now offers three sessions of computer classes to a total of 12 women. The program session will run until the end of July. We'll be looking forward to some great WPM results!
Published by Lara DeVries on behalf of the Light and Leadership Initiative. Special thanks to Louella DeVries for the photos. Looking to volunteer? Visit www.lightandleadership.org.