Beginning in May 2008, Hands-On Saigon set up a computer center for the children in a very poor area of Ha Tay province, collaborating with a local priest. One of the goals of providing the free computer literacy classes was to create an incentive to motivate these children from disadvantaged backgrounds to continue their education past the elementary level. Local parents often find it difficult to pay school fees especially when they have no vision for their children’s future education.
Hands-On Saigon began their help by providing three desktop computers and then later delivered thirteen multimedia notebook computers. Mr. Liem, a young idealistic priest who initially shared his dream and proposed this plan for a computer center for the local children, requested Hands-On Saigon’s financial assistance and support, but also does his part in providing the room, teachers and utilities, and ensuring the equipment is well cared for. There are even notices with “do’s and don'ts” posted on the walls to remind the students regarding the equipment’s care.
The students’ first computer room was small and dimly lit. Later they moved to a more spacious, well-lit site. Classes are taught three days a week after school by volunteer teachers.
A lot of progress was made in six months’ time with only three computers, but with the addition of thirteen more, more children are able to learn. In the photos above, seven new multimedia laptops were delivered and lots of students were eager to help set them up, thankful that their community has been given such a special opportunity
The classes concentrate initially on typing skills and learning how to use a word processor. Later the students advance to more challenging levels where they learn a variety of useful programs and develop skills that prepare them for higher education or their working careers.
Mr. Liem who works hard to give the children and youth in his area all the tools he can to help motivate and inspire them to do their part to improve their future.
His desire to start a computer center has been a success and the original figure of 200 children wanting to learn later grew to 600 applicants. With 16 computers now available, he’s signing up over 100 students for each course. The children are encouraged to learn exciting new and extremely useful IT skills and to stay in school and build themselves a better future.
The girls and boys study at different times, taking their commitments to learn very seriously. The last six laptops delivered have larger screens, enhancing the advanced students’ studies with graphics programs.
The students have made outstanding progress since the center’s inauguration in May 2008. Mr. Liem has repeatedly expressed his thanks and appreciation that other people also share his desire to see children from poor communities build a brighter future.