HCT MOSAIC’10 The Spirit of Caring – Nepal trip
On Saturday, April 3rd, a group of thirteen IT students from Sharjah Men's College, along with two faculty members, departed from Sharjah International Airport for Nepal. Within the theme of MOSAIC 2010, 'The Spirit of Caring', the students travelled to a remote mountain school called 'Sri Sanskrit' in Nepal's Tandrang province, taking with them ten refurbished computers to establish a computer lab for their less fortunate Nepalese counterparts. Over the last two months students have been busy recycling parts from discarded PCs to build the refurbished ones for the project. They also sourced and installed software and tested the machines thoroughly before their departure. 'In this project, the students used a lot of the skills they have learned in their studies' Dr John Raven, one of the organizers of the project explained. 'Computer hardware, network design, software installation and customization, troubleshooting and testing are all important aspects of our IT curriculum and this project has allowed students to apply these skills in a real and meaningful way. Many students have contributed to the project and they have all been very excited about it'. The project has been organized in partnership with a charity organization called 'Children of the Mountain'. Mr. John Matthews, International director and founder of the charity, explained that many children in this remote community have never seen a computer before and that the new facility could make a real difference to those living in the region. It is hoped that the people living on the hill will learn new skills and embrace modern technology -- skills that they can then apply when they seek work in the future. The students also gave training sessions to some of the local teachers and managed to paint a kindergarten classroom. School uniforms and stationery items were also bought and donated with money raised by Stephan Ottewill, English faculty at Sharjah Women's College. It was a culturally enriching trip for students who also managed to squeeze in a flight over the Himalayas and Mount Everest. According to the other faculty member on the trip, Ms Rosemary McConville, 'Our students have returned to college, vastly enriched by the experience. Typical comments were: Abdulrahman Murad: 'I was happy when I showed them how to use the computer. They did not know how to use a mouse and I showed them how to use their whole hand`. Mohamed Ali: `Except for the dangerous roads, the trip was amazing -- full of adventures and was unique. It makes me appreciate my life in the UAE and my country`. Hassan Ali: `In the beginning I did not like the environment -- dirty, not developed bad streets. But when I saw the people I forgot all the bad things about the country. I was just thinking how to help them develop and share the technology that we have in our country`.