OLPCorps Yale Rwanda

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My name is Kezia Kamenetz and I am a senior at Yale university who will be graduating with a degree in Philosophy in May. My teammate is David Williams, a Sophomore at Bennington College. We are both natives to New Orleans, LA and have had extensive training in the arts as high school and college students. I have also had a lot of experience teaching children as well as organizing programs for them in the arts.

Our team’s focus for deploying the laptops will be encouraging self-expression and creativity. Alongside instruction on how to utilize the laptop as a learning and connection tool, we will direct classes that focus on creative writing, music and dramatic arts. These classes will culminate in an arts celebration at the end of the nine-week period. Further, the art that is produced by the children during this period will be presented and displayed for children their age at partner elementary and middle schools in the United States as well as posted on a website, so that these children’s stories and voices will be heard on a worldwide stage.

I have also directed a similar type of creative writing class for children this age in the United States. Of course, the first focus of our curriculum will be to teach the children basic knowledge on how the laptop can be used and how to take care of it best. The arts teaching will come later as the first project the children can use the laptop for. The laptop comes with a program for typing as well as creating musical compositions, which will both be utilized. Lastly, we will show them how to publish their works on the internet. It is really amazing how empowering it can be for a child to learn how to express themselves creatively. The teaching will focus on getting the children to realize that their voices are a strong force for making change in their communities and around the world.

The partner elementary and middle schools will be the essential tool in creating a sustainable partnership for this project. I am in conversation with schools in the United States who have agreed to display and incorporate the art that is produced by these children into their arts curriculum in the coming school year, and create an easy avenue for students in the United States to raise awareness and money for more children to receive laptops.

We are still in the process of making arrangements for which organization we will work with and will update this page soon.