Mary was always going to make a difference. As a mentor at Golden Girls Foundation, Mary ran the Literacy Club, engaging children with reading. When the ZOO Memorial Foundation (ZOO) launched their mobile digital program in her community, she encouraged all her students to join in.
Mary was comfortable in her role as a mentor, but an opportunity to lead was on the horizon. Following successful training with the mobile digital program, ZOO opened their first women-focused digital lab at Golden Girls Foundation and Mary was chosen as the administrator.
Rising to the challenge, Mary received training from ZOO and not only learned how to use a computer but also how to fix minor computer issues. Equipped with entrepreneurship skills, the knowledge and confidence to teach, Mary rose to her full potential.
Her biggest challenge was managing the large numbers of children who flocked to the digital lab. They were overexcited and at times unwilling to concentrate. Mary found it easy to mobilise children to join the training, but maintaining a learning environment proved more challenging.
But Mary overcame this. Throughout her training she had gained not only digital skills, but determination and confidence. As a teacher, Mary asserted herself authoritatively. She trained her students in English, Swahili and Luo. Explaining the mouse was one of her memorable teaching moments. The children who used to run around the village now respected ‘Madam Rakiro’.
Mary (Right) with her Literacy Club students on graduation day. The students received basic computer skills training and participated in creating their certificates as part of the assessment.
Empowerment is no less important than the tangible digital skills Mary learned at ZOO’s digital lab. She has taken both and used her confidence to make a difference to many children’s lives. Most importantly, Mary feels empowered and believes in herself as a role model.
Mary’s experiences show how computer and digital training have a huge impact, inspiring new goals and career paths. A positive change in one person’s life then filters down through generations and communities.
The skills and empowerment Mary has gained are significant. The impact this will have on her students is immeasurable. By supporting the Sera Program, you can see the positive effect of The ZOO Memorial Foundation and their partners at grassroots level, paving the way for equal access to digital technology for all. As Mary says, “We live in a computerised world. It’s important.”
By Zoe Willis